This is inspired by my frequent visits to the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge. It truly is a magical place.
I know I am dying so I have come to bid all my loves and especially my dearest orchid a final farewell. I pray I will surrender my soul to a place that will be as sweet as this hot house garden. I have a bequest in my pocket. It includes a generous sum of money for a park bench in honour of this magnificent garden. I will ask for a few simple words to be engraved on my bench when I pass to the garden of death.
It will say:
Mr Sagitarrius Died This Day in This Snow Drop Garden.
Forgive me – I am ninety two,
I forgot all but two of my loves’ names,
My first and my last.
But I remember my orchid.
Love is a garden.
It is divine.
Everyday my old limbs pay a visit to the Botanic Garden in Cambridge. I hate routine, but my aching joints oblige when my lonely soul is in need of feminine company. It is winter and in this season of chills, chilblains, snow and ice my favourite haunt is the glasshouses. There my ancient heart is warmed and I reminisce about… LOVE.
My eyes begin a familiar journey. First alighting on one of many beauties, my first love! The bird of paradise flower which I stumbled across in Papua New Guinea when I was an innocent. I was an adventurer, then. But, once awakened by the attentions of Ruth I became a Casanova! I fell in love, or perhaps in lust with Ruth – a dark-skinned beauty. I still remember the curve of her youthful skin and the way she used to gyrate her hips to entice me to join her in bed.
I linger in silent contemplation remembering Ruth and our amorous nights. Oh, what regrets followed the sudden demise of our fiery liaison. The never-ending jealousies were a sign of my Sagittarius failings, and my dare I say it?
Inability to commit.
Here I go again. Even at my advanced age my old knees fight the urge to rest and move on… longing to see… my next conquest.
There she is! Oh sigh. What a divine creature. Twirling on tiptoe, my ballerina flower. Yes, how you could dance, pirouetting on pointe. I remember you in Swan Lake. How perfect you were, your tutu twirling around as your hair remained still. Such a picture of perfection characterised by that tight bun. How I relished swiftly untwirling your hair and removing all of your clothing the very same night. And dare I say it? There was an encore! But even you could not keep my attention for long. Not when there was such a fire in my belly.
There she is! Wicked creature, I blame this red glory for breaking us up.
She rose up to demand my attention like a pompon ablaze, sharp-witted with spikes of outrageous character. Oh, how this strange flower reminds me of her. She had bright red hair, and such a quirky personality. I was hooked and yet, I regret, her true name escapes me, so I nickname you Calliandra. My mind is not as sharp as it used to be. Please forgive me, my beautiful red bonnet.
If by any chance we ever meet again I would rest my head on your shoulder. I’d begin by stroking your hair to get close to you. I’d caress you until intoxicated by your scent I would trace tiny trails of tender kisses down your perfect body. Sigh, the memory of this is almost too much for me. I feel quite giddy. Let me rest for a moment in a quiet corner. Or, I fear that some well-meaning but overzealous first aider will attach that defibrillator to me! Please don’t bother. It’s not needed.
I should have known you wouldn’t let me rest you selfish wench!
Narcissus, my daffodil.
You command attention and I obey. Your beauty is cunning and without compare and yet I sense there is something lacking.
You are too selfish.
You cannot love.
I should have visited you first. Please forgive me dearest sweetheart. You were the most exquisite of them all. My last, my first true love, an oriental flower, slender, graceful, full of charm, but, oh so fragile. I should have known. Oh, how I miss you. Now I am a ghost and lost without you. I settled for you, forgetting all others. Now I, this ghost of regret, understands the true nature of love. And now you pay me back for my thoughtlessness – your cruel ghost avoids me.