BENJAMIN'S ROSE … A Story I wrote for a workshop…
Benjamin spotted the yellow rose and stopped short. Approaching the yard, he took tiny steps to move closer to see the gem of a flower. Leaning, he cupped it in his hand and sniffed. A smile broke across his face like sunshine. Standing, he turned and studied a small grocery store in front of him. Biting his lip, one must assume he was thinking with intensity. Finally, he walked into the store.
"Well, hi there, Benjamin!" Mr. Bernard the grocer said.
"H-hi, Mr. B-bernard!" the young man returned.
Mr. Bernard smiled. Benjamin was a neighborhood "character." Slow-minded, his greatest amusement was visiting all the storekeepers at regular intervals to say "hello" in his deliberate, slow-moving faction. He took delight in the attention. Mr. Bernard felt sorry for the boy. His mother had died two months ago, and now he and his father lived alone.
"Mr. Bernard, c-c-could I have that yellow rose out front? I'll w-work for it."
The grocer stroked his chin in contemplation. He could just give the rose to the boy, but he knew Benjamin took great pride in showing he could work, doing odd jobs all over the neighborhood.
"Well, Benjamin! If you could stack some cans on the shelves for me a few hours this week, that would be a good payment."
Benjamin appeared the next day after school, ready for work. He started into the task with diligence, slowly and surely stacking red and white cans of Campbell's soup on the shelf. His care was admirable as he studied each can to be certain he put each one in the right place. Mr. Bernard was pleased. He could hear the lad mumbling, "T-tomato, tomato, tomato…oh, m-mushroom," as he sorted the soups.
Benjamin worked more than three hours that week. Mr. Bernard didn't notice; but if he had, he would have been impressed. On the way to work, Benjamin told everyone he saw how he was working at Bernard's Market so he could have the beautiful yellow rose.
Finally, on Friday, Mr. Bernard realized Benjamin had reported for work more than the required three hours that week, and he stopped the boy as he came in the door.
"Benjamin, you've done a fine job, and it is time to collect your payment, the yellow rose." He grabbed up his scissors and they went outside. Mr. Bernard clipped the rose.
"Here you go, Benjamin!"
"Thank you, Mr. B-B-ernard!"
Benjamin clutched the rose to his chest and took off running in his lumbering fashion. Big, heavy, sprawling steps that got him where he wanted to go, although not gracefully. It didn't matter. Arriving at his mother's grave, he knelt at her gravestone and laid the yellow rose on it. He kneeled back and smiled.
"For you, M-Mother," he said,
© JO Janoski, 2005, All Rights Reserved.