Ronald woke as he had done for years, before the roosters, walked the short distance to the basin and washed the sleep from his eyes with the cold water there. Fully awake, he shrugged his hunched frame into the long robes of his station, made his way through the dark, back to the bed to kiss his still sleeping wife goodbye before quietly exiting through the front door.
The cobblestone streets were dark, the torches lining the roads burned low or not at all providing more shadow than light, but it was a short walk to the gardens, and one that he did not need light to make. The path was burned into his mind so that his navigation did not require conscious thought, and his feet did not fail him. Just minutes after leaving home, the service entrance of the castle gardens came into view.
The air was thick with the smell of spring roses in bloom. It was a smell that Ronald took great pride in. As the chief rosarian, he was responsible for the roses and though he could not take credit for the way they smelled, he liked to think that his efforts bore some influence on their scent, and perhaps the kingdom itself.
With barely a word to the guard, he entered the garden, his garden, and went to work.
As the sun rose above the horizon, the colors popped to life. Red, yellow, white, and the Queen’s favorite pink came into clear view before Ronald’s eyes as he worked the soil from his knees. The Queen would be pleased with the garden this morning if she looked down from her tower. He knew that, and smiled as he worked hoping that her gaze would fall upon the garden that day.
She never came to the garden herself. No matter how beautiful the roses, she did not come. Instead, the roses were delivered to her, a dozen a day, in whatever color or combination thereof she desired. She loved the roses as Ronald loved growing them. It was a perfect arrangement.
The morning wore on, but no one came to pick the roses for the Queen. Ronald began to wonder what was the matter, but these things were beyond him. Surely someone would come soon.
But they did not come. The end of the day approached and no one had come. The Queen had not been seen from her tower, and Ronald worried that something was very wrong. This had never happened in his time as rosarian. If there was something wrong with the Queen his job and the livelihood of his family would be in jeopardy.
Those things were above him though. With nothing to do but go, he put away his tools and started for the gate just as a side door opened to reveal the Queen in all her glory. Ronald fell to his knees, eyes down and away from the Queen.
She paused in the doorway for a moment, stepped forth, plucked a perfect pink rose, and lifted it to her nose. Without a word, she turned back to the door and disappeared inside.
Ronald stood taller than he had in years and walked home with a spring in his step that he had not felt since his youth. The Queen had visited his garden. Though his wife may not believe it, he knew. The Queen had visited his garden.
Short Tuesday is a little something I try to do… on Tuesdays! Sorry, couldn’t help it. Anyway, I take a word, a word like rosarian and try my best to write a short story or scene with it. The words typically come from Dictionary.com’s word of the day e-mails that show up in my inbox every morning around 8:12am, but aren’t limited to them.
I hope you enjoyed reading my Short! Feel free to come back anytime.