BLACK ROSE

Amidst the rolling hills, surrounded by the wide verdant meads, dotted with bosky patches of wood through which the breaths of gentle breeze sough melody all time, there laid a beautiful village Abbotsbury in the English Country Dorset, United Kingdom, far away from the mayhem of sprawling towns. It is hardly one mile inland from the English Channel Coast, inhabited with not more than 500 people. Many a house in the village is a small stone cottage, most of them appear to be older than hills, wearing beige but fascinating look.

In the outer edge of Abbotsbury, there lived Mr. Taylor in a small cottage situated off the unpaved trail to a nearby tarn, a beautiful mountain lake, abounds in countless pieces of life. His house can be recognized easily as it abuts village periphery, and is partly covered with dozens of neon veins; perfectly going with the natural elements around and, giving the cottage a seriously exotic look.

It is said, Mr. Taylor owns the oldest houses in the village. He inherited this cottage from his grandfather long time ago. It’s been almost 55 years he has been dwelling all alone in this village, with a few pets in the name of company, a Mute Swan, a cow, a pair of sheep and, a couple of chickens. Every pet in his farm has a name.

Mute Swan is the dearest one; Mr. Taylor had named him “Brass”. He is one of the most celebrated pets in the hamlet, renowned for his lavish ivory feathers and bearing. When Brass walks in the wide grassland, he walks grand. His cocky gait leaves everyone agape when he promenades around with a certain attitude and the way he throws tantrum may belittle anyone.

Mr. Taylor had turned 78 last week, still quite healthy, living peacefully with Brass and other pets. He has been leading a solitude life since long though; there is not even single crease that loneliness could put on his bright face. Mr. Taylor is kind of taciturn but full of life. He takes a fancy to husbandry and gardening too; this is how he has been rolling by the time in his last phase of life.

On a balmy day, right before the noon, when the sun was ready to hit its summit in the brushy sky; Mr. Taylor was giving a shower to his dear cow, then, he noticed, a boy from the village was running amok towards his farm.

Nervousness filled him immediately; the old man got into motion and sprinted towards the boy to catch up with him.

“What happened boy”, the old man asked with extreme curiosity, “is everything all right?”

The boy was panting crazy, trying to catch his breath. He stammered, “Tell me a story”

The way the boy replied left the old man speechless, he grew grim in aftermath, continue to gawking at the boy, and then the boy’s fetching smile dispersed the awkward silence.

“Oh boy, you scared the hell out of me”, Mr. Taylor tried to recover from the ghastly experience he just had.

“It’s not a time to tell you a story. You should have come in the evening, you go back home”, Mr. Taylor suggested and moved to the farm to get back to the work.

“I can wait for the evening, Sir” the boy replied in a sweet thin voice, tried to cajole him.

“What about your mother, it’s still seven hours to evening”, said Mr. Robinson, tried to brush him off, “you cannot stay here for that long, your mother will bawl me out too”

On that remark, the boy rummaged through the deep pocket of his lower and took a note out. The boy extended it to him. Mr. Taylor got the wind of what it might be about. He gave the boy an odd look and took the note, unfolded it to read it out.

As expected, it was a hand written note.

Dear Mr. Taylor,

Today I am away to give a visit to my cousin sister. I shall be thankful if you could please take care of my son until I come back.

Thank you

Reading the note, Mr. Taylor stayed tight-lipped and shook his head. He walked off, head down.

The boy grew numb, watching him going.

“Come and help me with my work first”, the old man stressed at the top of his pitch, “and, button your shirt properly”.

Hearing this, the boy jumped out of joy and gave Mr. Taylor a chase.

The sun had gone; everything had submerged in the dark. Mr. Taylor lit oil lamps; put one of them on the ledge, rest he hung on the side wall. All-together, the amber blaze coming from their flames were perfectly comingling with the blurriness around and giving an ethereal view to the house.

Mr. Taylor was done with the cooking.

Speaking of cookery, there was a time when Mr. Taylor was a celebrated cook in the village for his terrific cutlery and cuisine skills. He used to run a bakery in the center part of the village and prepared food on ceremonial days for the people when he was young.

For this reason, naturally, he had to prepare delightful supper for the boy.

Mr. Taylor had an old six seater rectangular dining table; it was too old that he has to mend it time and again else it may fall apart anytime. Nowadays, wood-eating larva and other worms are feeding upon it. The continuous annoying tik-tik sound could be heard easily.

In an attempt to serve his young guest well, Mr. Taylor laid out a piece of cloth on the table which had frayed edges, thanks to the rodents living in the cottage, so he hid the ratty portions of the cloth under the folds. Mr. Taylor had an antique rough-looking flower vase which he placed in the center of the table with a set of junk ridden candle holder next to the vase; he used them as a center-piece.

After ages, Mr. Taylor took out his set of old crockery which he usually keeps in reserve, just in case, if someone from his kin and kith gives him a visit.

He set the dilapidated crockery on the table, even the colour of the crockery had worn off, nevertheless the effort made by Mr. Taylor asked for some praise. The way he adorned the table with ragtag pieces, surprisingly, altogether, they were giving a fine look.

After placing everything on the table in a proper way, he lit the candles as a final touch.

Mr. Taylor took the food out on the plate for the boy and served him. Following, he sank into the head seat; the boy was sitting in the chair for the second host, they both were sitting right face to face on the table.  

Hardly had Mr. Taylor taken his seat when the boy demanded for a napkin.

“Oh! Let me bring one for you”, Mr. Taylor stood and lurched a bit as he was totally exhausted. Now with time, it has become difficult for him to move around eaasily after a long hectic day.

He went to the kitchen and brought the boy a napkin. Mr. Taylor took his seat again with a deep sigh of relief.

“You can take whatever you like son”, he said to the boy whilst making himself comfortable in the chair.

With this humble offer from Mr. Taylor, the boy, immediately made an allusion to the wine glass set next to the platter of the old man.

Hearing this, Mr. Taylor raised his brows high.

“No! No! No! You cannot have this, not now” Mr. Taylor made it clear right away, “you have to wait for if you really wish to taste it”

“How long”, the boy asked in a naïve voice, not in mood to back down on his demand.

“How young you are?” Mr. Taylor really wanted to know.

“Twelve years” the boy responded without wasting a second.

“Six full years to go, cannot help”, Mr. Taylor mercilessly broke the boyish heart.

“But I want that glass”, the boy mumbled under his breath by avoiding eye contact, still holding his ground.

Reluctantly, Mr. Taylor had to leave his chair again, got in the kitchen, brought another wine glass, put it before the boy and poured some water into it.

“Why it is not brown?” the boy said in sheer innocence and shot a clumsy look to the old man.

After much ado, Mr. Taylor finally got to know what the boy was aiming at. He took the wine glass, again went back to the kitchen, filled the glass up with a soft brownish beverage and offered to the boy.

A smile cracked on the face of the lad.   

Now the fuss seemed to be over. They both relished their dinner.

With an annoying sound of burp, the boy finished with his delicious supper and left the table, didn’t bother to wait for Mr. Taylor.

It was a cloudy night due to which the somberness in the air had turned rather dull. After making the bed for the boy, Mr. Taylor was lolling in his tacky armchair, laid next to the window through which he was busy staring at the half shaped moon. The clouds were swimming across the moon on the trot and making it flicker alluring.

Then the boy barged into his dream and reminded him of telling a story.

Mr. Taylor thought that he would cut this part off at the end of the day but…..

“Get in the bed,” said Mr. Taylor, “then I will tell you a love story of a handsome boy and a beautiful princess”.

Having it heard, the boy jumped in the bed in total excitement. The princes might be the reason of that wilderness, exhibited by the boy, whatever, the boy pinned back his ears to listen the story.

Then Mr. Taylor frowned at the boy and corrected himself, “she was not a princess but a charming girl”.

Circa 1957, Giana, is a 20 years old, (Mr. Taylor started), heavenly beautiful and the only daughter to a then prominent politician in Dumfries, city of Scotland. She grew up with fondness for mountains, hills, greenery, and expensive motors too. She is wild when it comes to drift unplanned throughout the countryside to feel the nature, of course, with no destination in mind. She is simply led by picturesque landscapes and natural sceneries, nothing else.   

On an eventful day, whilst coddiwompling in Galloway Forest Park, in the bottom of a wide valley, near a shallow water arm, a boy of same age caught her attention, he was angling there. Encountering someone in the backdrop of the mountains was not unusual but still she decided to remain behind for a few minutes. She observed him closely to ensure whether he was a camper, a threat or someone else. Giana looked around in haste, if there was someone else around; there was no one but him.  

Then, all of the sudden, something pleasurable struck to her mind, she beamed with an angelic smile.

Giana closed her eyes for a sec and stepped forward. She approached him from distance by taking a position on a rocky promontory near the water.

“Hey”, she distracted the boy with a becoming smile on her face, showed her perfect jaw-line.

The boy turned around, shell-shocked, his heart beats began to throb wild with that sudden unexpected encounter.

“Hey”, he replied and stretched this simple word at a great length with too many pauses.  

He seriously got confused where to pay attention, to the fish which got stuck to the hook or to that girl. The fish was struggling hard to get rid of, but the boy didn’t want to let go, “neither the fish nor the girl”.

By bringing the confusion to an end, the boy pulled the fish out of the water with a massive jolt, and then attended the girl properly.

He wiped his hand with his shirt and shook hand with her.

“Hey, I didn’t expect someone to approach me here in this part of the jungle”, the boy introduced him as “Oliver”.

“Giana”, the girl responded.

He was a man of perfect stature, 6 feet tall with sharp immaculate features, and his pitch black hair was the center of attraction, they were scattered all over his forehead, giving him even more magnetic look. He was carrying an athlete body, wearing half sleeves azure dotted shirt paired with shorts and sport shoes. With all these add-on, it was obvious to be fallen into someone’s attention, especially a girl of same age.

Giana felt infatuated with the boy, she couldn’t resist from staring at him. Oliver noticed it and felt little awkward with the enormous amount of attention, he was receiving from the girl.

Observing this, Oliver forcefully broke into her reverie.

Giana came back to her senses, and tried to carry herself in a proper way.

“What are you doing here”, Giana asked without giving it a thought what she was up to.

Oliver smiled, “well, I am the one who suppose to ask the same question”, he said.

“This is how Giana and Oliver met in the jungle”, Mr. Taylor continued

This far, it was an unlikely but majestic event, emerged in the shadow of the colossal mountains, near a wild torrent. Even the nature itself enjoyed, witnessing that awe-inspiring encounter of two young beings.

The dark clouds began to hover all around to intensify the feelings stemming from the confluence of two souls. The puffs of mildly bleak wind were encircling and pulling them in such a way as though the wind itself want them to come closer.

They both kept on gawking at each other and smiling in a stupid way. Something has sparked within both of them on the spur of the moment. The time had come to a halt, as all their senses had been seized by a kind of bizarre numbness, they both were out.

Then, the clouds rumble in the distance only to disturb them. It was time to move before it began to rain.

Giana was staying in an establishment, made exclusively for the campers, whereas, Oliver had pitched his own camp nearby. When Oliver disclosed it to Giana, she immediately abandoned the idea of going back to her motel. She decided to stay with Oliver.

At the side of a hill fenced with stout oak trees, there was a glade, nearby a narrow stream; this is where Oliver had pitched his camp. Giana looked around to behold the scenic view, completely in awe. However, Giana was well aware of the entire piece of land, but she never came upon that particular spot.

The evening sun had lost behind the nimbus clouds. Oliver quickly lit the bonfire to warm the air around. Severely exhausted Giana flopped down on a piece of cloth, spread close to the fire, as the weather was slowing turning cold.

She was totally taken over by a storm of intense feelings for Oliver; restlessness began to scudding through her veins. She was trying hard to shift her attention. The more she tried, the more she got into flap.

Oliver grilled the fish for Giana and served her. And, then they started off a normal conversation for the first time. The anxiety within them got relented slowly. Giana relished the fish so much; she actually devoured it due to its succulent taste and flavour.

Oliver also looked delighted within himself, constantly goggling at her polishing off the fish.

In passing, Giana casually asked again “what are you doing here alone”, mouth stuffed with the last morsel of fish.

Oliver blush a little, and gave an instant reply, “I have still been wandering everywhere in search of a BLACK ROSE”

Hearing this, Giana’s eyes went huge and she found it tough to swallow the last bite. She put the dish down; a seizure of restlessness gripped her heart. She had to have some water to subside the inner uproar which erupted without a warning. She was greatly astonished at the words, just delivered by Oliver

She stood up, peeped into the eyes of Oliver. Her brain experienced an abrupt rewind of old memories to refresh them.

“Green Olive”, she whispered under her breath, still not ready to accept the nudge of her brain, “this is why you were falling for him”.

Oliver laughed outloud, the entire dell resounded with the echo of his laughter.

With this hoot of laughter, the bewilderment with which Giana was beset got dissolved. She covered her mouth with both of her hands and unleashed the sea of emotions in a worst possible way. She had forgotten how to react on such a sudden epiphany.

Giana and Oliver Green were childhood friends. Giana would call him “Green Olive” out of love.

They met first time at the tender age of 09 or 10 years and would gambol in the back garden of the mansion of Giana’s father which had been built outside of the city near a river. The mansion was encircled with a vast garden, beautifully manicured. That big house, calm river and neatly maintained surroundings, altogether, they made a fascinating scenery which would attract Oliver’s attention. The mansion was clearly visible from the window of Oliver’s house attic. He used to spend hours, staring at the view. And, it so happened one day, he persuaded and braced himself to cross the bridge, the only thoroughfare to reach the mansion.

Thus, Oliver found a beautiful friend “Giana”, she was the first person he met on other side of the river.

The back-garden of the mansion has a small entryway from where Giana used to let him in. She had stolen the key from the store for Olive. Usually her father didn’t let her go out, due to which she had found some interesting ways to keep herself amused within the boundary of her house.

Oliver was a part not of a family which had a big name. His family had a small shop to run in the outer area of city. In that context, Oliver was not somewhere near Giana and her father’s prominence, but destiny always has its own arcane ways.

Even at the age of nine, Giana was really obsessed with the beauty of nature, especially flowers. She would care for them so much. It happened one day, while playing together, Giana asked Olive to bring a Black Rose for her. Out of innocence, Olive took on the task but unfortunately couldn’t find one.

One day, suddenly, Giana and family moved out, they vacated the house. Oliver Green was left behind with no trails to follow. But he could shake her off his mind.

Oliver patiently bode his time; his inner sense never let him feel down. He always knew that she would come back, they shall meet again.  

After a decade, Giana came back to Dumfries. On her arrival in the city, a flux of indomitable desire to see her again invaded him. He immediately set out but when he saw Giana after a long time, he found it sensible to stay back.

With time, Giana had turned into a glorious damsel, clad with matchless beauty, courtesy, and sheer innocence. Athazagoraphobia scared him. At that time, he decided to stay back and determined not to give up but wait.

The meeting of Giana and Oliver in the mountains was not a stroke of fortunate serendipity; Oliver has always been around. Ever since Giana came back, he was following her in stealth.

Well, doesn’t matter if the boy was deliberately chasing her but the innocence and purity of his heart brought the girl back to him.

After a series of fortuitous events, Giana had stumbled into a euphoric state of blissfulness. A drastic change she noticed within herself for all good reasons. Oliver wanted to come close to a childhood friend again so he came.

At midnight, Giana and Oliver were sitting silent in the open air, near the stream on a big flat rock. The bonfire was blazing full-fledged in the background. Giana slowly put her head on his shoulder. Without uttering even a single word, they both were experiencing a lot.

Then, Giana broke the ice, a sudden stroke of frenzy forced her to ask abruptly, “Where is my Black Rose”,

Oliver smiled softly and stood up. He went into the camp, searching for something in his rucksack and came back. Oliver bent down on his knees in front of Giana, their eyes pierced each other’s with deep sense of emotions.

Olive maintained this connectivity for a moment through his eyes and then he took out a Black Rose which he was hiding from her.

However it was a fake rose made of a piece of a black cloth with a plastic stem.

A ghost of smile appeared on her face, she tried hard to suppress her emotions but they burst out of her. A stream of tears rolled down, Giana accepted the rose and they embraced. At that very moment, the hissing sound in the jungle turned down, even the potent wind, soughing through the valley, dwindled. Everything maintained an easing calm. Even the rain clouds dispersed for the moon and the stars to shine upon both of them. A stellar night came into view.

“I don’t want to go back”, Giana mumbled vulnerably as though she never want to let the overwhelming feelings go she had been having then.

A marvy night, abounds in unforgettable moments, had passed.   

Next day, they both disappeared. Oliver had taken her to his village situated a long way off from Scotland, in South West England. After that, nobody never came to know where they had gone. Giana’s father never bothered himself to find his daughter as she had left a note for him in the camp. Her father always knew that someday it was to be happened so he just let her go.

When Giana came to the native village of Oliver, she learned for the first time that Oliver is an orphan; he was brought up by his loving grandfather. For his well upbringing and to make him ready for survival in rapidly changing world, his grandfather sent him to his bosom friend at the tender age of 8, who had a small shop in suburban area of Dumfries.

Learning this, Giana affirmed at heart to fill the life of Oliver with love and love only.

Oliver’s grandfather announced the marriage; a rustic but grand ceremony took place near a mountain lake outside of the village. “The most adorable couple in the village”, this title was given to them by the commoners. Soon after, their love began to blow all around in the valleys of his village.

Mr. Taylor continued the story, and then he noticed the gentle snoring of the boy who has fallen into the lap of sound sleep.

Mr. Taylor covered the boy with a thin bed-spread and sit in the armchair near the window, again glaring at the moon.

A drop of tear jerks out of his old eye and rolled deep down through the wrinkle on his cheek. He closed his eyes to recollect the reminiscence of the later part of the story.

Right outside of the village of the Oliver, in the south, offshore, on a big mound like hill, thriving with viridescent fern and verities of fluffy grass, this is where they spent most of their time. Oliver had built a small wooden cottage and furnished it with rustic pieces of furniture which he himself carpentered. A small round table and two chairs, put on the top of the hill, from that vantage point they both used to have a bird’s eye view of the sprawling nature.

There was not a single day which passed when they didn’t witness the charm of the grandiose dusk and dawn.

A year and few months passed, Destiny intervened with no mercy, and on a fateful evening, when they both sitting on the top of that same hill, watching the sun going down. It had touched the horizon above the sea, agog to submerge. Oliver was sitting crossed legs, with teary eyes. He was constantly staring at the big lambent shape of the big star, glowing crimson. Giana was sitting next to him with closed eyes; head on his shoulder. Her heavy breaths were disrupting Oliver’s heart ease.

Soon after, the sun disappeared, and with its last beam the vibrant aurora filled in the view and Giana left.

Her heavy breath succumbed to ease.  A stream of tears drenched Oliver, his eyes still adamant not to blink.

Giana’s head slide down from his shoulder and plunged into his lap. Oliver closed his eyes in sheer pain.

And the entire space brimmed over with dark.

(Giana grew up with some incurable heart conditions which were bound to get worse with age. She never told Oliver what she had been suffering from. During the years, when she was away from him she had told everything about Oliver to her father. She had made it clear; whatever may come she will spent whatever time she had with Oliver. He was the only reason, she came back to Dumfries. They both were in quest for each other. This is why Giana’s father didn’t try to find her when she left with Oliver. Her father always knew with whom she was.)

Mr. Taylor opened his eyes, totally devastated. In a huff, he stood up and darted out of the house. He started walking and immediately picked up his fastest gait. His pet Brass followed him.

The rainy clouds had gone, and the space bespeckled with myriad of stars. Even the half shaped moon began to shine with such vigor that the dark had to give the way for the old man, though unwillingly. The celestial shine compelled the dark to leave its hold and everything began to shimmer like argent.

Through the rolling hills and uneven path, Mr. Taylor reached the top of a hill where the love of Oliver and Giana is still blowing in the air.

The ramshackle cottage, the tattered table with two chairs is still there. Mr. Taylor looked around, frozen with pain. The entire top of the hill had turned into a rose garden, manicured beautifully by the nature. Abundance of roses were swaying with gentle breeze and shimmering like red gold in the moon-shine. Then, the airborne heavenly fragrance of roses showered Mr. Taylor to soothe him.

Mr. Taylor took the chair laying in the garden, in between the roses, enchanted with them, he was looking all round in a daze how mesmerizingly they have engulfed the entire summit of the hill.

Then, all his amazement got riveted by something. Something caught his attention. He stood, moved towards it and he saw, it was a BLACK ROSE. It was shining mildly like a quenching coal.

Mr. Taylor gasped in astonishment. It was unbelievable, Mr. Taylor bend down and touched the rose. A real BLACK ROSE it was, the storm of pain within himself got relented at that very instant. Mr. Taylor touched it again and again so as to settle his doubt whether it was just a camouflage.

It was a real BLACK ROSE for sure. The joy had taken him over; a smile appeared on his face after years. He fondled it with his trembling fingers and landed a kiss gently.

At last, Mr. Oliver Green Taylor had found a BLACK ROSE.

“I will find you again, Ms. Giana Taylor”, the old man mumbled to that BLACK ROSE.

“Taylor”, it was her surname which Oliver adopted later on.

(As Giana desired, Oliver buried her on the top of the hill, the rendezvous, which had become an epitome of their ardent love. Her love for roses forced Oliver to fill the entire hilltop with the plants of rose. He did it for her and nurtured them with love.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s