The dead rose
A tiny sunbeam slipped through my closed eyelids into my eye. It felt light and warm, and if I hadn’t known that I was still alive I would have thought that it was the light in the tunnel.
Slowly and carefully I opened my eyes, and faced the sunbeam. It came from the narrow gap in the dark blue roller blind. There was only one window in the little white room. A white lamp hung from the middle of the ceiling, and four others were located above the four beds in the room. On the right side of each bed, small tables were standing. On the opposite side of the beds there were four white metal shelves full of clothes.
The smell of burned porridge flowed slowly through the air and met my nose after a while. That smell was familiar to all of us who ate breakfast in the orphanage. I would have recognized it everywhere. Michael, my best friend, felt the smell too. He was still asleep in the bed to my left, but he wrinkled his nose when the smell of burned porridge reached him. His narrow face looked brown against the white quilt he had pulled up to his little sharp nose. On the right side of my bed, two other boys were sleeping, John and George. John was breathing loudly as usual. He had thrown his thin pillow on the floor during the night. A cold wind came through the open window and brushed through his short blond hair, and flew softly through George’s long dark brown hair. George was snoring loudly without any rhythm. It was pretty annoying actually. His big body was covered with a much too small quilt, and his round head was lying still on his teddy bear covered pillow. His dark brown skin was matching the bears on the pillow. George was left here as a baby just like Michael and myself. My mother died of cancer when I was just a few months old. It was when she died that I was placed here. I don’t know much about my father. Sometimes I wonder if he was there for my mother when she was ill. Maybe he left after she died because he didn’t want me. I felt a teardrop on my left cheek. It was warm. The tear ran softly down my cheek past my nose and mouth, and ended on my soft cotton pyjamas. The next ones I dried away with my hand.
Suddenly the door went up, and a big woman dressed in a blue coat came into the room.
“Get up boys, it’s eight o’clock”, Angelina, one of the staff of the orphanage, almost yelled to us.
Michael jumped out of the bed. John and George turned a few times around in their beds before they slowly, almost asleep came out of their beds too. Angelina straightened her curly blond hair before she left our room. The four of us went to our shelves and tried to find something to wear. I pulled out the first clothes I found, a dark blue worn pair of jeans, a light blue t-shirt, a pair of socks and underwear. We got dressed and went down for breakfast.
The canteen was almost full when we got there. It was noisy, and some of the smaller kids were running around the tables. George and myself went to get our wheat porridge, while the two other boys found a table. There was no one before us in the line. Samantha, the cook, filled our four white plates with porridge. She had big, sturdy hands, long straggly ginger hair and bloodshot, baggy eyes that gave her the doleful look of a bassert hound. Samantha smiled faint and filled four glasses with milk.
Michael and George had taken a table close to the entrance. I handed over their porridge and sat down on a chair next to Michael. George threw his food down, while I was just picking in my own. The wheat porridge had lots of small brown lumps. It almost looked like rolled oats with yoghurt. Sometimes I wonder if my mother was a good cook. I think she was. Some weeks ago John told me about his parents. He told me how nice and careful they were. Unfortunately they died two years ago, and John was sent here. He also showed me a picture of his little family. I had a picture of my mother once, but Thomas, one of the boys in my class, burned it some years ago. I can still remember the picture. My mother was beautiful, and she had long curly dark brown hair and brown eyes. Her skin was light brown, and looked soft. She had long black eyelashes and her brown eyebrows were perfectly shaped. Her lips were red and well-rounded. In her ears she had small daimonds. Her nose was just like mine. I know that her name was Lilly. She had a beautiful name.
“Can I get your porridge David?”.
George interrupted my thoughts.
“David, David, can I get your porridge? It doesn’t look like you want it anyway”, he said and looked hopefully at me.
I nodded and sent him the rest of my burned porridge.
“I hate mathematics, and I hate Mr. Sark”, I muttered while we went to our class.
“Yeah, we know David. Mr. Sark doestn’t like you either”, Michael answered me.
“He hates me”.
Our last lesson today was mathematics with Mr. Sark. Thomas had hid my clothes after our gymnastics lesson. Michael, George and John helped me find them.
“Hurry up, we are late for class”, George said impatiently, and began to run up the old stairs.
We followed after him and when we finally got to our classroom the lesson had already started. Mr. Sark was writing some tasks on the blackboard when we came in. His black hair was lying tight around his head. When he saw us his face turned from white to red in anger.
“David, George, John and Michael you are late to class, again”, he said, placing a heavy emphasis on the last word.
He quickly wrote down our names in his little book, and ordered us to take a seat. Michael and myself each took a seat at the very back.
“David I want to talk with you after class”, Mr. Sark said, and looked at me.
“Yes, Mr. Sark”, I answered as sweet as I could.
Michael and myself looked at each other.
After all the other pupils had left the classroom, I went up to the teacher’s desk. The desk had an old timber tabletop with metal legs. Pens and a small black book were lying on the desk. A cup of lukewarm coffee was standing to Mr. Sark’s right.
“Sit down, please”, he said with a calm voice, and pointed to a chair in front of him.
Suddenly I felt cooped up, even if the room was light and airy. The window close to us was open and the red and dark blue curtains were flapping in the wind. I shivered when the wind brushed through my brown hair. Mr. Sark cleared his throat.
“There is someone who wants to meet you David”, he said in an unnaturally quiet voice.
“Who wants to...”.
“His name is Robert Mackell, and he may want to adopt you”, Mr. Sark interrupted me.
I felt my heart pounding somewhere in the region of my Adam’s apple. There was a long pause before we said something.
“Wha-a-at, wh-h-o, wh-e-e-n-n...”, I stuttered.
“Mr. Mackell will come and visit you on Friday six o’clock”.
“Bu-u-ut how does he kno-ow me?”.
“He has been visiting us for some time now, and he’s soon ready to adopt a child”, Mr. Sark answered me.
“But go to your friends now. We can talk more about it later”.
The days went on as usual, and when it suddenly was Friday I didn’t know how to feel. I was happy and scared at the same time. At exactly six o’clock someone knocked on the door, and Angelina and a man came into the room. My heart, which seemed to have swollen to an unnatural size, was thumping loudly under my ribs. The man was thin and tall. He was wearing a pair of beige trousers and a white shirt beneath a dark blue vee-necked sweater. His blue almond-shaped eyes looked familiar to me. He had dark brown hair and small ears.
“Hello”, he said.
His voice was loud and masculine. I looked up at him and opened my moth to speak, but my swollen heart was now constricting my air passages. After a few seconds I managed to take a deep breath and trembeling I said: “Hi”.
“I’m Robert Mackell. You can call me Rob if you want to”, he said and held out his sturdy right hand.
“David”, I said and took his hand.
<bilde>He held a red rose in full bloom in his left hand. Rob smiled and gave me the rose. Angeline found a vase and filled it with water. I put the rose into the vase and placed it on the small white table beside my bed. All three of us stood there watching the rose a few seconds before we began to talking again.
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After a while Angelina left the room, and only the two of us were left. We talked for a long time about everything from football to school. I thought that he was the coolest person I had ever met. When he left, he promised me to come back, and he did. We had a great time toghether, and I wished that he would adopt me. Michael, John and George were happy for me too. They loved listening when I told them about Rob.
After we had met several times, the administration allowed Rob to take me on a trip. We did a lot of planning and at last we decided to visit a museum. It was a Saturday morning and I sat outside the orphanage waiting for Rob to pick me up. As I was sitting there I felt the raindrops landing softly on the top of my head. My hair was wet and I froze. Some of the raindrops had slid through my thin green raincoat. I felt some of them slide slowly down my chest on the inside of my sweater. A small black fly was hit by one of the raindrops. It landed on my knee and buzzed a few times before it got up. I could see that the fly licked its small thin black legs and rubbed the two first ones together. The two transparant wings were folded together on its back. While I was studying the fly, a dark blue car suddenly stopped in front of me. The fly flew away and I looked up. Rob was sitting inside the car smiling.
“Jump in”, he said, and so I did.
Rob drove away from the orphanage, and onto a highway nearby. I could hear the raindrops hammering on the roof of the car. The black windscreen wipers were moving fast back and forth.
“There is something I need to tell you David”, he said seriously and looked me in the eyes.
“What can be so serious?”.
“There is something you have right to know about me”.
I looked strangely at him.
“I’m your father”, he almost whispered.
I opened my mouth, closed it again, opened it once more, shut it, then, I struggeled to remember how to talk, opened it for the third time and stuttered, “Wh-ha-a-a-t?”
Rob didn’t answer me. I didn’t know what to say or do. Suddenly I began to hit him on his right shoulder. I had not control over myself.
“WHY? WHY DID YOU LEAVE ME AT THE ORPHANAGE?” I shouted.
I just kept on hitting him.
“I didn’t want to leave you”, he cried.
I felt tears run down my cheak. Suddenly the car skidded. I heard a massive bang, and everything was dark...
Suddenly I woke up in my bed. Angelina was sitting beside me. I rose quickly in the bed, and saw around in the room.
“Where is he?”
She didn’t answer me.
“Angelina, where is he?” I asked again.
“He can’t be dead. I didn’t mean to do it”.
Angeline still didn’t answer me. She just kept on staring at the dry rose on the small table beside my bed. Her eyes were shiny and she blinked several times before she shed a tear. The dead rose was brown and the flower hung down. The leaves were dark green. I felt tears running down my cheek. The dry flower came loose from the stem, and landed quitely on the clean white floor...
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