A single yellow rose I hold in my hand. It is so delicate, like the friendship its color symbolizes. I raise it to my nose and inhale its soft fragrance and remember you.

I begin to peel a petal away and feel its gentleness as I roll the memories around my fingers. I tug another away from the stem, this one resists, not wanting to share itself with me. I continue until nothing remains but the stem.

I look at the neat pile of petals laying underneath and joy fills my heart not sadness. Because the beauty of a friendship, like the rose, is made up of individual memories; put together over time, watered with tears, the soil turned with understanding and nourished with the brightness of laughter.

As I stare at the thorny bare stem, absent of the flower, I smile. Even though it is stripped of its physical beauty, it's splendor lives long in my heart, like the memories of our friendship.

Copyright © 1998 Todd Wielgos --- Illinois