The Most Beautiful Flower
She was trudging on the way home, her resume in hand. Walking on the roaring thoroughfare, she felt the world to be a sea of chaos. With a paralyzed inability to move any further, she stopped at a park nearby.
The park bench was deserted as she sat down beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree, disillusioned by life with a good reason to frown, for the world seemingly was intent on dragging her down.
She sank into the weathered bench, looking far away dully, with countless and frustrating voices echoing in her ears.
“Well, I’m afraid that you could have another try.”
“Male interviewees only. Thanks!”
“Sorry, Miss Hua. You are certainly an excellent engineering graduate but just not the experienced one we are looking for....”
Growing up with thousands of claps and praises, she could never figure out why she should be the last one to be chosen in the career world.
“What a loser I am! Alright, just give it up!”She sighed with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the bench. Seated motionless, she felt a lump in her throat.
There were patches of grey sky through the clouds that piled one above another. It was in the middle of November, a death-like season.
Not far away from the bench, a chap plainly dressed was standing straight with a dog beside him, holding a bundle of buds. If it were not for his clear and loud voice, he would not even be noticed. What he was enthusiastically repeating was “Flowers! Beautiful flowers! The most beautiful flowers you can ever see! Each only for ten Yuan.....”
“What a strange man!” she murmured, “How can flowers be sold in such a deserted park? If so, why not flowers in full bloom?”
Indeed, those flowers in the man’s hands were merely buds. Shabby as they were, they were surely not eye-catching like brightly red roses or graceful white lilies.
After one morning of hurly-burly, it was time for lunch. She took out a loaf of bread and began munching to satisfy the physical need. Immersed in meditation, she was not aware of the chap’s approaching.
“Hello? Emm…” the young man made a timid inquiry.
“Yes?” She raised her head and looked at him.
He was young, with a round, freckled face wearing a warm smile. For the first time, she found a boy’s eyes to be so beautiful, except for a subtle but elusive radiance.
“Excuse me, Madam. Would you like a flower? My flowers are really very beautiful at a favorable price. You see ……”
Anticipating a selling nattering which she was always impatient with and irritated by the sudden bothering, she interrupted directly.
“Sorry, no need.” she answered as shortly as she could. Wanting him to understand her indifference and go off immediately, she tried to squeeze out a polite smile.
“I sincerely hope you get one since…” he did not give up.
“But then, what is the beauty of a bunch of silly buds?! Any miraculous apparition can be expected?!” She replied bluntly. Even she got herself shocked after the outburst.
Choked by her frank refusal, the chap showed a flicker of embarrassment. He apologized politely and went away.
Although his truehearted suggestion was turned down by the unexpected relentlessness, the chap was going on with his promotion nevertheless. It seemed that her ignorance does no harm to his belief that he was selling the most beautiful flowers!
Staring at the little buds, she somehow thought of her granny, the little prince’s rose and her passed childhood days. At star-shining summer nights, she used to nestle against granny’s knees and cried for stories about the distant stars. For many years, she fell asleep with grandma’s tender caress, “Once upon a time, there lives a little prince on the planet B612. The little prince owns a rose. Though beautiful it is, the rose is very proud. The little prince loves the proud rose so much as granny loves my sweetie…..”
Grandma left her eight years ago and the Little Prince has been cast in her bookshelf for years. She was no longer the spoiled little girl. She has grown up and she talks and behaves like a grown-up. At one time she thought that she could handle all exterior hurts and challenges properly as little prince’s proud rose, only to find that she would also confuse everything and get all mixed up like every certainly ordinary grown-up.
Yellow leaves are flying like butterflies, bidding a farewell to autumn. What is irreversible and provisional in the world is nothing but time. A twinge of sorrow seized her. She finally could not help but began to sob.
And if that weren’t enough for a day, the chap came up to her again, all unready from promotion. He stood right before her with his head tilted down and said with great gentleness, “the most beautiful flower!” Not retreating, he stood next to her side and placed the buds to his nose and declared with genuine enjoyment, “It sure smells pretty. Here, it’s for you! ”
Her heart was filled with gratitude. She knew she must take it. So she reached for the flower, and replied, “Just what I need, thank you!” But instead of his placing the flower right in her hand, he held it mid-air without reason or plan. It was then that she noticed for the very first time that the kind chap could not see: he was blind.