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THROUGH the faded Marigolds


By Novel AllenPublished 3 years ago 6 min read
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There are four main varieties of marigolds. The French marigold, the Signet marigold, the African and the Triploid hybrids marigold.

They are mostly planted after the first thaw. Most are prolific during the summer.

Then for beauty and nuance they are broken down into a myriad selection of names:

Lemon gem marigold, bright yellow, blooms all summer.

Tangerine gem marigold, bright red.

Spanish Tangerine, anise flavored.

Bonanza and Carnation marigold, yellow, orange and maroon.

Irish lace marigold, white flowerets and lacy leaves.

Red gem marigold, bright red

I could go on. But some, like the African or Aztec marigold, have medicinal values.

The Aztecs were said to have used this marigold for healing. Examples are toothache, hiccups, wounds, fever, jaundice, headaches, sprains, and even bee stings. It is still used today as restaurants may substitute its dye (made from boiling the marigold) for food dye flavoring instead of saffron which is very expensive.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

During the summer months, #777 Lofty Heights glen was covered in marigolds of every variety.

This was home to a young but strangely reclusive couple.

They were twenty seven and twenty-five years old respectively. He was dashing and debonair and she was a lovely dark beauty. He painted marigolds upon her walls. She danced for him in the moonlight.

Each petal he painted was a poem.

Each pirouette she danced was a song.

Mr. and Mrs. Gravesend.

They lived in the large beautiful house, set a little apart from the modest, but tasteful dwellings of everyone else.

I remember the entire house being draped in flowers. But mostly marigolds.

She would stand at the gate and hand out bouquets to anyone who would accept them.

Peggy Paulson-unsplash

She tended them herself, ruled over her gardener with an iron fist. He was a little terrified of her, never touched her marigolds without her consent.

I watched them coming and going, singing and dancing. I watched with admiration and hope that someday I would be her.

Their happiness was infectious.

I was ten years old when she inherited the house and they moved in.

When I turned seventeen he disappeared.

They had no children, no pets, just the two of them.

There was great speculation. She became a recluse. Mrs. Gravesend never went anywhere. Her groceries were delivered to her. Her bills were deposited into her mailbox meticulously. She never went shopping.

At first she kept tending her flowers. The gardener had been given a generous sum of money and released from duty.

We could hear her crying and moaning at nights. This went on for three more years. She withdrew totally from any contact with society.

Never having seen friend or family visit them, I decided to try to cautiously entertain the idea of approaching her in the capacity of a friend.

Often we could see her peeking out the window, the curtain would be pulled back just a tiny bit, so you could barely see her. It was as if she were looking for someone, expecting to have an accidental visitor I convinced myself.

Having made up my mind, and against the advice of my mother, I gingerly walked towards her door. I heard the key turn in the lock. I would not be deterred. I knocked.

I heard a sob.

"Who are you", she asked tearfully.

"My name is Flora, Mrs. Gravesend, I live down the street."

"What do you want."

"I just came to see how you are doing, and to ask if you needed anything."

"Did you bring marigolds," she asked.

I looked all around the house and garden. The flowers, once so beautiful, were fading. The paint was starting to peel from the walls. The whole situation was so sad, tears came to my eyes.

"What had happened here", I thought to myself.

"No ma'am, I do not have marigolds. But if you want we can prune the ones you have here."

"Go away.", she yelled.

I could hear her footsteps receding. I will try again tomorrow. Out of curiosity I walked to the side of the house and peered through the gaps in the wooden fence, the entire backyard was covered in yellow marigolds.

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But, unlike the others these were not faded. The strange thing was the perfect square of white ones in the middle of the yard. These were well tended.

The next day I tried again. She had been peeking out the window, she saw me coming. She did not close the curtain, which was promising. I waved at her. This time, after the curtain closed, I heard the key turn, the door opened a crack.

"You brought the marigolds". She sounded pleased.

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I had obtained some African marigold for her. They were a beautiful shade of red and yellow.

Why she wanted more marigolds was a mystery to me. Just visit the backyard.

She beckoned for me to come closer, then practically snatched the bouquet from me and slammed the door. I stood there. Her footsteps receded and then returned. She was peeking out the window again, and maybe trying to make up her mind about me.

Suddenly the door opened wide enough for me to enter, she took my hand and practically dragged me inside. She shoved a chair towards me and withdrew to the opposite side of the room, curling herself into the sofa.

Mrs. Gravesend stared me straight in the eyes and asked;

"Would you like to visit Thomas."

"Thomas?" I was puzzled.

"My husband," she replied soberly.


"Is he here," I asked.

A look of pain crossed her face. She got up and pointed out the window. I did not understand.

"I put him there, with my white Irish lace marigolds. He loved them so, now they love him too."

"What happened to him." Was this woman dangerous?, I was getting alarmed. She looked like a lost child, so forlorn. She got up and came to sit on the floor by my feet. Resting her head and cradling my feet, she cried silently.

I slid down to the floor and cried with her. Eventually the tears subsided, I helped her up, and as she laid down on the sofa looking frail and innocent I knew that I would never let harm come to her. A blanket was placed over her as she fell asleep.

I kept her secret. She eventually revealed the unfortunate tale of star crossed lovers, once wonderful, but destined for the depths of sorrow.

I loved her and feared her a little, she was wild and unpredictable. An unfathomable book of depth and grace. We became close friends, each day was a joy in the moments we spent together. A year passed. She started getting out again and rejoining the outdoor life. She even came to dinner at my house.

My mother was wary of her. Warned me about her. I refused to listen. She had changed, I said. All was well.

Until the day I found her diary.

Thomas knew that she came from a long line of a very troubled family. He knew that her reality could warp into her unreality and she was incapable of differentiating the real from the unreal at times.

Marigolds, lovely marigolds. What secrets you hide. I moved into the house with her. My mother cried.

I now know all her secrets. The secrets of the lovely Mrs. Gravesend and some faded marigolds.


Will I go the way of Thomas.

Only time will tell.


About the Creator

Novel Allen

Every new day is a blank slate. Write something new.

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