A flower bloomed today.
I saw it out through the dusty, cracked basement window and watched as it struggled up toward the sunlight.
It had chosen, this brave flower, a tiny knoll set in an expanse of muddy ground to begin its fight for existence. Rows upon rows of beaten, battered ruins of what used to be old and majestic houses surrounded the mud, slowly crumbling down into its dirty embrace. Like the scummy wasteland, they had been trampled by the same machine.
I was glad that the basement window only had a tiny crack in it because even a tiny breeze brought the putrid reek of death to my nostrils. I knew where it came from – the Morgue, the cemetery for thousands who had stood up for the Truth.
I glanced back out of the window at the flower and saw, as if for the first time, the beauty of its bloom. In the black scum around it, it shone like a beacon. Tiny droplets of water, clean, glistened on its bright petals and ran down its sides, leaving gleaming streaks on its stem. I couldn’t take my eyes away from the flower’s beauty and marveled at it until the sun set and night covered the land with its soft, silent cloak. I turned from the window and quickly went to my pallet on the floor, eager for the new day.
A flower died today.
I saw it disappear under many muddy, tramping boots as the soldiers dragged me away. But I knew that, sometime, somewhere, another would lift its brave head to the morning sun and cry out in defiance,
“I will live!”
Written May 18, 1984 (age 16). Originally posted here February 2012.
A Friday Campfire Tale from the Cold War Kid collection.