i stared at the selection in the hospital gift shop teddy bears. get well balloons. humorous cards.
and flowers. and the rose reminded me of all the times i told her, jacqueline, you are prettier than a rose. so i brought my dear sick jacqueline the rose and i told her what it meant to me. she said she wasn't pretty in her hospital bed but that when she gets out of it she will dance in a pretty red gown for me and she will be beautiful. (i told her she is beautiful in the hospital bed, and i did not lie.)
and she kept her promise. she got better and she put on a red gown and danced for me, and then with me and she dried out the rose i gave her and kept it because she said it mattered that i thought she was still beautiful in her hospital bed. i hoped it didn't matter because i hoped she would never be so close to death again.
one day jacqueline walked outside carrying her delicate rose coming to see me, to be in my arms. and my jacqueline fell and the rose fell too, and i ran to her but i could do nothing the people in scrubs and white coats took my jacqueline away and the wind took jacqueline's rose. except two petals, which i took with me. and one of them went in her grave, and the other i promise i will never lose the way i lost my jacqueline.