Rose came like a murmuration, first distant then filling the air, settling on trees and the roof of the house. I knew her name immediately, Rose and then the stucco cottage, wood floors scattered with thin rugs. Her door opened to gardens, unkempt and wild. The stucco walls held old climbing roses with trellis barely visible under soft pink blooms. I felt this cottage was in England, a warm feeling. I saw a clothesline being swept hard by wind, pegged with tea towels, a filmy slip, a cotton dress and a green bed cover. Where exactly is this I wondered, the wind felt a permanent part of her life. The cotton dress, stirred a little something, like the aroma of a roast in the oven on a long slow Sunday.
More and more images, like going through an old album ignoring people; looking for art, furniture, a sink, a table set in the kitchen, a vase, a certain chair, a book left open, boots by the door. I gathered these reflections and began to feel things strongly. I felt she was near my age, perhaps 3 or four years younger and I knew she lived alone.
I have met women I immediately felt drawn to. It is a flirt of soul, a recognition. This was Rose. How could I know her unless I let her divulge herself, unless I let her speak.
So the Rose Stories. It was like starting a cold car. She struggled to speak and I wrote. She seemed feeble and when I read those first sentences I lost interest. She felt absent like she was caught in the ether. Mary felt better,solid.
I walked past the hutch, glimpsed the delicate tea set, buttercup yellow with a small bouquet of roses. They belonged to my maternal grandmother. Rose was stirred by the sun rose yellow, she heard colors not a verb. These colors live inside me, she said. No, these colors are mine.
Last night I could not sleep. Ferrets rooting, digging, sniffing out old memories. I woke morbid. Suitcases, trunks dumped and rummaged I thought I was rid of. I went back to Rose. She was making dinner for a man. There was a chicken in her sink, its wing marbled red, bruised, she was sick at this sight.
I felt her revulsion.