When I saw it, with its red petals and prickly thorns, I reacted most unexpectedly.
The truth is, I picked it up by the thorn and smelled the petals that brushed against my half-shaven face. It felt as if God himself were touching my body, and I knew then that things would never be the same for me.
I stood there a long time, trying to figure out the nature of this rose and why I could hold it without bleeding and who gave it to me and why. In the end, it seemed a positively undue thing to hold the rose accountable for the pricks. I was deciphering the vastness of feeling which it gave me.
So I stuck to the end of the road and held onto it for dear life and I merrily chanted an Irish ballad, then an American one, and then one that I made up. I skipped all the way down to the grocery store, and gave the clerk five dollars for four potatoes and skipped down toward town to buy cigarettes that I knew would kill me but I didn’t care because I had this moment at least; this moment of triumph where the rose bellowed out a song so beautiful, that tears ran down my face.
I picked up the rose where my heart left off and left town in search of adventure.