Blood Scented Flower

I’ve been swerving of late.

Strained my back recently and I’ve never felt a bodily pain this bad before. And to put your racing minds at ease, I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary; not even hanky-panky – I’m content with not seeing much of that either. I think this is when you’ve gone dry for so long that your conscious has gone to the extremes of fooling your body to believe that it’s okay. Whatever jokes you have, I still believe it’s okay. Being pricked by a thorn however, that competes with this back pain…😫

I came across a red rose whilst I was walking home one day; a single rose lying there on the ground. My stomach churned and maybe that was the warning sign to let it be but, me being me, I picked it up. Probably the most beautiful petals I’ve ever seen and yet the stem is as rough (thorny) as can be. How do you hold a dozen with your bare hands? I pricked myself by just lifting one.

And they say beautiful things often pack a beautiful punch. There’s nothing beautiful about this moment, just another troublesome day in a troublesome world. Who’s to say it’s troublesome for others though? I deliberately let the blood drip slowly onto the petals from my pricked thumb. Red just became another shade of red and it got me thinking.🤔

There’s someone out there living their beautiful red-rose life. For some, it’s a hard working life to get there but, for others in Zimbabwe I couldn’t help wonder, at what cost did they amass their beautiful riches? I tilted the rose a bit; turns out that thorn went in deep. The blood trickled down the stem. I smiled… As the blazing afternoon sun-rays bounced off my bald head, I sat there in the dirt on the side of the road, gleaming at a bloody rose. 😬

At that moment, a woman and a child passed by. The lady had noticed me. The look on her face; well, I didn’t have to look at her face to smell the fear on her. So I looked directly at the little girl instead. Probably 9 years old at most. She was tiny but, that didn’t matter. Our eyes met and I stuck my tongue out in rebellion, she responded with a tiny laugh and a little tongue of her own. We were definitely swerving in the same zone; she was just in the happier version. The lady was having none of that though and they quickly shuffled to the other side of the road.

I walk from home to work and back daily. It gets tiring but, it’s nothing new when you’re from where I’m from. On that particular day I stopped for a bit. I never usually do. I’d soon move to sit under a tree; at least that looked saner than sitting in the middle of a pathway under this well-known unrelenting Bulawayo sun: Along Seventh! Couldn’t explain the bloody rose though. More people passed, most minded their business, a few on bicycles were better off; at least the scorching heat would be a warm breeze by the time it meets their tough-weather-beaten faces.

I got home later than usual that day. Mom wondered why I was sucking on my thumb. I told her I got pricked and she mumbled something but, I knew she was thinking the same thing I was thinking of at the reaction of my own response. Like who pricks their own thumb while walking home from work? 🤷🏾‍♂️ How’s your back, she asked. As sore as my thumb I thought. I didn’t verbally respond. I answered with the hand-on-my-back gesture and a frown on my face. I have days like these; beautiful like a red rose but, the painful thorns lurk in the midst.

You probably wondered if I took that rose home with me? NOPE! The weird me decided to look for a stick, dig a hole and plant it behind a tree. I passed there the other day expecting a withered stick. From red to black; the petals had fallen and the green stem now brownish, the thorns still being thorns. I kinda know why people favor roses for valentines now. They are beautiful but, like love, they are also painful.


Maybe it needed a little beautiful-rich water…



Photo Credit: Roksolana Zasiadko

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