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The Bouquet Of White Roses

Jusmi is an English teacher. Obtained her Masters in English literature from Gauhati University India shares an immense love for writing.


Shriya stayed all alone by herself. She had no company or friends either apart from two or three colleagues who used to drop by someday in case she didn’t present herself to her regular duties at the office. She was an introvert by nature which stopped her from making friends. All she did was to run between her home and office.

One day as she walked up the stairs and reached her apartment she noticed a bunch of white roses lying on her doormat. She was confused and tried looking for a card or any note. But, she couldn’t find any. Ignoring the flowers she tried to go inside but she couldn’t. She picked up the flowers and went inside, put it in the vase with a little water and kept it on the centre table. Looking at the roses she thought, “ God knows for whom they were meant to be. I should go and check with the watchman in case he knew anything regarding it”. She dialled the watchman’s number and started speaking but to her utter disappointment, he informed her that he didn’t see anyone approaching the building with any roses. As she hanged up the phone she heard her doorbell ringing. On opening the door she saw an elderly lady. She would be in her late fifties. She had wrinkles all over the face but she looked pretty and had the most infectious smile. Smiling at Shriya she said, “Hello, dear my name is Maria Mackinson. I have shifted today in your apartment so just came to look around and say “hello”. Saying so she offered Shriya the fruitcake that she had brought. Shriya was not very keen on taking the cake but she didn’t want to be disrespectful hence she accepted it. She called Maria inside and offered her a cup of coffee. They both started chatting. Maria discussed everything about her family. Her husband was in the Airforce and he had expired five years ago. She was staying with her only son Daniel who left for Australia one year back. When Shriya asked her, “ Aunty why you didn’t go with him?” Maria replied by saying that she did not want to be a burden on him therefore she refused on accompanying him.

They both chatted their heart out. Shriya felt so happy. After such a long time she talked with someone so freely other than her mother. Before Maria left Shriya gave her one white rose from the bouquet to express her gratitude for the delicious cake. Maria thanked her and promised to come back again.

After a few days on a weekend, Maria said, “Shriya let us have dinner together today. It’s my late husband’s, birthday today”. Shriya inquired if she was needed to come to Maria’s place for which she replied that since her place was not arranged properly they would have the dinner at Shriya’s place altogether. Shriya didn’t refuse.

With time they developed such a friendship that was beautiful to watch. One day as Shriya walked up the stairs to her apartment she saw Maria already waiting with her delicious fruit cake again. Shriya said, “ Hie aunty you look very happy today what is the matter?” Maria replied, “ First let us go inside. I will make your favourite coffee and along with it I will share the news”. Sipping on the coffee Maria said, “ I said you about my son Daniel right? He is coming back to India next week. He had called me today and informed. It’s his birthday on the fifteenth of this month and he said he wants to spend the day with me. Shriya I want you to meet him. Therefore please be at my place on that day. We will both wait for you”. Shriya promised that she would love to be there and wish Daniel on his birthday.

After that day she didn’t see Maria again. She tried calling her but the phone was not received. On one occasion, or two when Shriya went to her flat and tried ringing the doorbell but no one answered.

She was confused but tried to console herself saying, “ Maybe aunty is busy making arrangements for Daniel’s arrival. Anyways on the fifteenth, I will go and meet both”.

Finally, the day came. Shriya dressing in a beautiful white dress along with a cake and bouquet went to Maria’s place. As she approached the apartment everything seemed dead silent. She felt a little awkward but still, she rang the doorbell. After five minutes the door was opened by a young man. Opening the door he said, “ Yes, how can I help you?” Shriya smiled and said, “ Hi, you must be Daniel. Myself Shriya I am your neighbour. Happy birthday”. He looked shocked and confused and replied, “ Well, thank you so much. But, I am not celebrating my birthday today. Anyways how do you know my name and that it’s my birthday today”. Shriya replied, “ Well, Maria aunty told me that it is your birthday today. Where is she? Is she not well? I haven’t seen her for many days. Hope she is fine”. Daniel looked at her in a strange manner and said, “ What are you saying? How can mama say you all this about me? Last year on this same date she had left me forever and gone. That is the reason why I don’t celebrate my birthday anymore.” Shriya felt that the ground beneath her had suddenly started shaking. She lost her consciousness and felt on the ground. When she opened her eyes after some time she could see Maria’s portrait on the wall. Daniel walked up to her and said, “ Leave everything now. Everything that happens doesn’t always have an the explanation so few things must be left as it is. Thank you for bringing these white roses. Mother loved them a lot”. Saying so he took a white rose and gave it to Shriya. Shriya felt it was the same rose that she had given to Maria in their first meeting.

© 2020 Jusmi Saikia

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