She closes her eyes and sees her new life.
Simple, perfectly balanced home. Four rooms, each the same size. Bathing room, Sleeping room, Eating room, Learning room. Each room contains only natural wood, accompanied by grey, beige or white, and lots of empty space. Each room also holds red. Red towels in the Bathing room. One red painting in the Sleeping room. A red bowl filled with grey and white stones in the Eating room. And in the Learning room, a large red book with hand drawn characters, always opened beside a stack of white paper and a red pen.
Surrounding the house, gardens. One flower only, but growing in every crevice, every hillside, every fold of land. Bright red tulips. Springtime tulips budding with red and pink and promise. Tulips glowing into summer, golden-red, warm to the touch. Russet-red tulips, like tiny trees, dancing with the autumn wind, but never shedding their leaves. Tulips blooming through winter, silver-red goblets filling with quiet, white snow. In her new life, tulips have become immortal.
In her old life, her dreams sometimes featured flying with a wise teacher in a hot-air balloon. “Land here,” she shouted, and the Teacher guided them down to the field of red that looked like flowers. Instead, it was a battlefield, strewn with bodies, everything covered in blood. “Up, please!” She screamed in horror. Later, she looked down to see another field flowing with red. “No, no,” she begged as the Teacher guided them down once more. This time, it was a field of tulips – magnificent, resilient, transcendent tulips.
“You always have a choice.” The Teacher slowly disappeared and left her dreaming of red as healing, red as wisdom, red as life becoming death becoming life again. Red as an eternal question, and its deepest answer.
She has made her choice, and now she is living in the new life. She may have died, and discovered that death is a gentler, more satisfying version of tumultuous life. She may have chosen bone-white stillness, with a harmonizing red for remembering.
Or she may have simply chosen tulips.