This short story was written in September 2015. The idea was born out of talking to an old lady who told me that she was forced into cutting down an old rosebush. Her neighbour complained that the rosebush dropped leaves on his lawn and was threatening to report her to the city council. She told me she was going to write the neighbour a letter and try to make him understand how much the rosebush meant to her.
I don’t know it all ended, but this is my take on it. I hope you enjoy the read!
St Edward’s Church, c/o The Vicarage
May 21, 2015
Dear Mrs. Everett,
I write to inform you that a rosebush growing on your side of the old fence facing the cemetery is becoming something of a nuisance. We have gotten several complaints about the leaves and flower petals it sheds over the new graves and headstones.
I walked down there yesterday to take a look, and it does seem as if the bush is rather lopsided. If you could be so kind as to cut it down to a more manageable size that would be greatly appreciated.
Vicar Thomas Potts
Bay Tree Road
May 22, 2015
I was delighted to receive your letter. They are such a rare thing these days with all the young people talking on the phone all the time. People don’t take the time to sit down and write proper letters any more. I suppose it is a sign that the times has moved on and we are stuck in the past, you and I. As for my rosebush, I admit that it is rather lopsided as you called it. But who isn’t these days?
Did you know that it was my dear Henry that planted it on our wedding day? I had told him about the roses my mother grew when we lived in London. The house and the garden was lost during the Blitz, and I don’t think my mother ever recovered. It was the roses, you see. Her mother had brought them with her when she moved down from Scotland. They were quite irreplaceable. But that’s life, I suppose… We lose that we think we can’t live without, and discover to our horror that we go on living. Heartbroken and half-mad by grief, but living all the same. And as time passes we discover the little things that reminds us of those we lost. My rose is that, a reminder of the ones I have loved and lost over the years.
As for cutting it down, I am afraid it is out of the question. Once it has bloomed, I will prune it of course, but it is still much too early in the season. I would lose most of the buds if I pruned it now and we simply can’t have that, can we, dear Vicar. Besides, I have always thought that leaves and petals on graves look rather romantic. Much nicer than these boring little shrubs people insist on having nowadays. But fear not, once the rose has bloomed and before the frost sets in, I will prune it, like I always do.
Mrs. Violet Everett