There was a rose bush for every child, including the one who had died before she was born. Her mother had long ago forgotten which rose bush was for which child, but she mentioned almost every time we walked past that there was one for each of us.
If those bushes could talk, they would bear witness to so many things. The growing up of four girls and one boy, siblings who were tight knit and for the most part got along. They would be able to replay make out scenes from the front porch, where many a night was spent with one daughter or another having prolonged goodbye’s. They would recall the Easter Brunch held at the home, where the extended family gathered. This included one cousin who had given up shrimp for lent and then dove head first into a platter during that brunch, free from her sacrifice. She had so heartily made up for her shrimp abstinence that she made it no further than the rose bushes before she lost them all in one giant heave.
Those bushes would talk about the unhappiness in the house. The veiled feeling of sadness and depression between the parents, felt daily by all the children. They’d talk about the fathers wandering eye, the mother’s addictions and penchant for playing the victim and about the many troubled nights sleep these things caused for the children for whom the bushes were planted. They’d finally tell the tale of the whole group leaving, quite quickly, after being harassed by creditors and served by sheriffs. About the younger daughters dressing down of the bank representative who came to talk about the impending auction of the family home and her refusal to let him past the lawn in his shiny shoes and three piece suit. About the many memories packed up in 30 short days after over 20 years of living. Those bushes would remain, with the house, the only stable piece of the lives of so many. If only those bushes could talk.