Gems

I look at the flowers on my bedside table, listening to the soft voice of the woman by my side. Elegant, pink blush camellias – one of my favourites. I can feel their velvety petals on my fingertips just looking at them. I’d always thought they were special – blooming in winter, a breath of new life when all else had died. Proof, perhaps, that life persists.

The woman reading to me… My daughter? No… My granddaughter. She reads stories and poems when she visits me. I don’t really hear the words, but her lilting voice carries to me on a wave, allowing my thoughts to wander, tempting my eyes to close, trying to lull me to sleep. I’m almost scared to sleep, but I am so very tired.

My gaze slides slowly once again towards the flowers, pink hues blurring, my eyelids heavy – they’re so beautiful. It’s wonderful, how flowers can wilt and wither, then be reborn. I’m ready to wither, I think, to see my husband again. My children are grown, with children of their own. I’ve had a good, long, full life. There’s nothing left for me to do… but it’s nice to believe that, maybe, we might bloom again.

The woman’s voice seems quieter now, I can’t hear much at all. The camellias seem faded in my clouding vision, but their light scent washes over me anew – encompassing me, folding me into an embrace like a warm blanket. I sigh, letting myself drift at last.

***

“She’s perfect, isn’t she, Tim?”

“She’s beautiful, Lils.”

Lily beamed at him, then turned her gaze back to the tiny, pink-faced person in her arms. Blue eyes gazed back, eyes that seemed so… full? The eyes of an old soul, her mother would say.

“We still need a name.” Tim muttered gently, his breath tickling Lily’s face as they crooned over their sweet girl, breathing in her soft, new baby smell.

A whisper floated into her mind, nudging a small, tentative idea to the forefront.

She frowned back at those blue eyes, stroking a peach fuzzed cheek, and smiled.

“Camellia.”

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
4 months ago

I love the imagery in this Emily, that new life can bloom from old. The hint that the elderly lady has been reincarnated in the baby, the whisper of the name, whether imagined or not. Lovely writing.

Juma
Juma (@juma)
4 months ago

A beautiful story, Emily. Very touching and compelling. “It’s wonderful, how flowers can wilt and wither, then be reborn.” Indeed it is. I love the way you let the reader experience this concept, instead of just telling him/her that perhaps there is more to death/life than we know. In many ways, a well-written flash fiction story can say more than volumes of philosophical ideas!

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
4 months ago

I enjoyed reading this sweet story of tenderness, love and togetherness. The old woman’s contentment with her long and rich lives corresponds with the newborn baby’s young, pink freshness, just like the withering camellias correspond with the fresh, flowering ones. Life and life are real and eternal, while appearances come and go. Thanks Emily!

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Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
4 months ago

I agree heartily with all the other comments, Emily. This is a beautiful story, exploring life, death, and birth as points on the eternal cycle. How wonderful that we can express such profound ideas in just a few words. The picture you chose for this story is also perfect – the soft pink flower petals look like the skin of a new-born, or the almost translucent skin of the very old. Great job!

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
3 months ago

A sad story, or is it? Life is always in flux, it is never the same, always different for everyone – but always the same question – is it really the end? There is a wonderful balance in your story Emily between Old and New – well written. I liked this read.

Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi (@katy-bizi)
3 months ago

When a writer is faced with the task of writing a short story, detailed descriptions can be sometimes underestimated and overlooked. I’m so glad that this wasn’t the case with “A New Bloom”. You have done an amazing job, miss Emily. Congratulations!

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Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi (@katy-bizi)
3 months ago
Reply to  Emily O'Leary

And your hard work and consideration paid off! The results speak for themselves. Good job!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
1 month ago

I love it, Emily. I love how you put a flower, baby, and old woman in my imagination, especially how amazing is your idea about reborn or reincarnation by comparing it to the flower as it wilts and withers, then be reborn. Thanks for bringing it up to us. Good write.

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