Once upon a time
There was a bush.
And it was plain and brown.

It had several branches,
And roots.

And a gardener picked it up and deposited it into a hole.
He filled the hole with fertilizer, earth, and water.
And he waited.

Summer came, and the bush looked good.
It had thorns still, but green leaves sprung from its brown branches,
And it felt attractive.

Until one of its thorns pricked the gardener,
Causing a wince on his face and a red dot to form on his thumb.

The bush felt unattractive again, and it trembled, thinking of the brambles which would be burned in the fall,
But it also felt confused.
The gardener did not uproot him and throw him into their pile.
He just wiped his hands on his jeans and watered the bush again.

A year passed.
The bush was growing quickly, so the gardener began to prune some of its branches.
The bush was not pleased.
He liked his long arms and lush green leaves.
He liked being one of the biggest plants in the garden and was proud of his appearance.

“Why do you cut away my beauty?”, asked the bush.
“To make you stronger.”, said the gardener.

The bush disagreed, but did not argue.
He remembered his thorns, hidden in the leaves.
He knew they were there, and felt it was best to stay quiet, lest the gardener remember the day he bled, and uproot him to toss him into the burn pile.

Another year…

This time, in the summer, the bush was full and lush with green leaves again, bigger ones, but in addition to his green abundance there were tiny green buds.

Tiny, hard, round balls that interfered with his handsome appearance, they stuck out everywhere on long skinny stalks that had smaller thorns, and these scrawny things would wave about with no rhyme or reason.
He hated them.
The gardener liked them.

“Cut them off. They’re ugly.”, said the bush.
“No.”, said the gardener.

The bush was confused.
Did the gardener not love him?

One evening, the bush felt different.
In the morning, the ugly round nuggets began to open, revealing a deep red color.
“I am bleeding.”, he told the gardener.
“I am going to die.”

“You are not bleeding, Bush.”, the gardener responded, smiling. “You are blooming.”

And he did bloom.
The rose bush produced large blossoms of deepest hues, and many came to look at him in awe.

He felt beautiful again.
But he began to worry.
It seemed that people loved, not him, the brown and green thorn bush,
But his roses.

And he felt sad.

The sun was setting, one late afternoon.
The gardener was sweating, after a hard day’s work tending the grounds, and he walked over to the rosebush, his favorite plant, and he lie down in the grass in its shade.

The bush whispered, “Why do you love me?”
And the gardener answered, “Why wouldn’t I love you?”.

This answer did not satisfy.
“Do you love me for my roses?”

The gardener rolled to his side and propped himself up on his elbow.
“Rosebush, I do not love your roses. I love you, because without you they would not exist.
The roses are lovely, it’s true, but they wither and die.
It is you, Rosebush. You create them.
I love you.”.
And he rolled onto his back again, to rest.

The bush was happy.
But then it remembered the day the gardener bled.
While he was lovely in shape, covered in flowers and big green leaves, the bush knew the secret he kept hidden in his branches;
He had thorns.
And they hurt people.

“Gardener.”, spoke the bush.
“Yes, Rosebush?”, the gardener asked with a sigh…

“I have thorns.”

“I know you do.”, said the gardener, his eyes closed, his breathing growing slower as he relaxed into a light slumber.

“You love me, then? In spite of them?”, asked the bush.

“Of course I do.”

“They hurt you. You are not displeased by them?”, asked the Rosebush.”

The gardener answered sleepily, his voice growing softer, his speech hushed, his breathing, quiet.
“Why would I focus on the occasional prick of a thorn, when I am <yawwwwn> utterly captivated by your fragrance?”.

And with that, he fell asleep.

The bush watched the rise and fall of the gardener’s chest, as he lie in the shade of his branches, and he loved him.

The gardener slept on, unaware of the affection and resolution of conflict within the heart of the green and brown flowering shrub.

Finally, the bush relaxed, knowing that despite his hidden imperfections, he was valued just the same,
Even cherished.

And he slept, too,
near the gardener,
As the gardener slept near him,
subconsciously sated as he inhaled the scented air that only roses,
From his prized rosebush,
could create.

Both of them inhaled and exhaled softly, deeply, rhythmically in the garden,
While the sun slipped lower,
on the horizon,
reluctant to leave the scene set before him.

Dusk spread over the earth,
Fragrance saturated the atmosphere,
And peace hovered over the grounds.

All was well
Within their world.

And all is well,
In ours.

– leah

3 Replies to “Imperfections”

    1. Just a further comment: I was up about 2 a.m. this morning because I couldn’t sleep. I saw the email with this story, and it was so healing for me — just what I needed. Thank you so much.

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