Marigolds Don't Just Mean Happiness
My dear, my love, come back to me
When we first met, you told me you liked to give flowers based on their meanings. You gave me a carnation the next time we saw each other and told me it meant fascination. After our first date, you gave me a gardenia. I realized then that falling in love with you required falling in love with flowers and I did so with ease. By the time I invited you to move in, my apartment looked like a floral shop and I gave you marigolds to tell you how every moment together made me feel.
I didn’t understand why you laughed. It was harsh, bitter edged like a poisoned knife. It caught me off guard. Sent my heart spiraling. I thought marigolds meant happiness, why did it seem to cause you pain? But then you smiled like the sun and kissed me and I thought I’d misheard. Misunderstood. That I’d imagined the despair that seeped from your every pour in that brief moment before it was quickly sucked back in. Contained.
Our months together were wonderful. Our year together bliss. I tell you that Heaven itself can't compare to the peace I found in your arms. With you in our home. With your breath on my lips. You continued to teach me things as we lived together. Showed me the books your mother gave you, filled with strange symbols and odd instructions. You warned me not to play around with them and I didn’t understand when you did but I trusted you. I trusted you would teach me what I needed to know. That I would learn, eventually, why you took those risks when you never would let me.
I did learn. The day you taught me that marigolds don’t just mean happiness but also despair. Grief. Mourning. When you told me of the cancer that was eating at you, that had been slowly eating at you for just over a year. Just before my accident and we met, you told me. You’d managed to slow it down with your mother’s magic but nothing could stop it completely.
You made me replant our marigolds when I tore them up. You made me buy more and place them in vases. You made me put them by you when eventually you could no longer leave your hospital bed. I gave you a million flowers in your final months, millions carrying the meaning that I loved you more than I had ever loved anyone. That I would only love you for the rest of my life. That I would never let you go. But still you made me keep the marigolds around. To mourn, you said. You told me I had to mourn.
My dear, you never taught me to mourn. So I can't. You never taught me to be without you after loving you. So I can't. And I won't.
Your mother’s books are confusing without you to guide me through them. You rarely spoke of your mother. Did she break someone’s heart too? Did she insist on being mourned? You never said but you kept care of her books. I take care of them too as I pour through them. It takes me time, it takes so much time, but I learn what you wouldn’t teach me.
Who did your mother bring back from the dead? Who was it she loved so much as to delve into the dark magic? What did she bargain? I know what you bargained. I know now where the cancer came from. Who did you bring back, my love? Who was worth our happiness? Our future? Who was it who you loved so much you gave your life? I will know.
When you wake, my dearest love, I will be inside our home. You will not find the marigolds you made me buy. I had to use something living to fill your chest with life.