At the tender age of fourteen, she was leaving childhood, entering womanhood, going through puberty. Born under the Zodiac sign of Sagittarius, she was a free spirit needing to roam freely in the meadow of life. By nature she was a perfectionist and was determined to do well in school.
When it came to creative writing, her desire to get a good grade was stronger than her desire to write. Getting an “A” in math or an objective subject was one thing, but in creative writing, none of the teachers would even consider giving an “A”. In a system of 0 to 20, the maximum score was 16-18, giving 20 didn’t really make sense for creative writing. Yet, she wanted to be the best. Hence, when the writing prompt was given in class, she would ask her father for help as many students did. Her father, an educated man with passion for writing and poetry was more than happy to help or better say dictate his thoughts to her. If for any reason he was not available, her paternal uncle who lived with them was the second source. She usually got a good grade and content.
They got a new teacher, a young, attractive man who raised interest in the young hearts of all females in the class. Most of their teachers were females, a male teacher for creative writing inspired the students on a deeper level. He would check the homework first to make sure everyone has done the work then randomly call a few students to read.
One day the prompt was challenging for her. It was a two line poem. It was directed to a person selling flowers. It said how could you sell the beautiful flowers for money? What can you get with money more beautiful that flowers? She was not sure what one can say about the poem. She went to her father. He read the poem, frowned as if nothing was coming to his mind. He then suddenly and abruptly with a critical tone said; ” I think it is time for you to do your own homework and write your own story. I have been helping you and now is the time you write!”
She was heart broken, a sudden shift she didn’t understand and took it personally, felt being rejected. Her tender feelings were bruised, tried hard to hold her tears and keep her pride. She loved her father, a difficult personality, yet she felt his passion for writing and it was something that brought them closer to each other. Tears were rolling. It was unexpected. She was unconsciously trying to understand what changed. It took her a long time to recover. Then she went to her uncle and asked for help. He welcomed her, yet after reading the poem, he said he was busy and didn’t have time. She wondered to herself that perhaps they also didn’t know what to say about the poem, yet wanting to keep face with her having an excuse rather than saying they don’t know what to say.
She was on her own with this tough prompt. She cried her heart out, felt anxious wondered what would happen if she was unable to write anything. the thoughts of being called and feeling embarrassed in front of the new attractive teacher ached her heart, her body shaking, her heart trembling inside. Time was passing fast and the blank page was teasing her. She was a free spirited person by nature, a beautiful soul full of joy of life. She pulled herself together and made a decision to write. She took the pen in her hand with determination. Nothing was coming to her about the poem. She didn’t like this prompt and it didn’t make sense to her. She knew intuitively she can’t force herself to write about the poem. It seemed as if an inner voice guided her to write from her heart, letting go of the prompt, just go within and write whatever you wish, write for yourself.
The pen started moving. She imagined a beautiful red rose in a garden sitting alone. She described the rose as a symbol of love, purity, completely free from lies and dishonesty. The rose represented love, pure love. There was a beautiful girl living in that home and it was her birthday. the family had invited all the relatives and friends to honor her birthday. Her heart was filled with joy knowing that her future husband will also be there. They were engaged and that made this birthday so very special to her. She was beautiful and her dress made the young girl into a woman. For the last touch she wanted to add a fresh flower to her dress. She went to the garden and as soon as she saw the red rose, she knew that was exactly what she wanted. She picked the rose. Ah, the rose felt the pain knowing that her life was coming to an end soon. She pinned the rose to her chest, took a look in the mirror, smiled liking what she saw, felt tall, confident, and desirable, ready to welcome her beloved.
The rose was happy, could hear the beat of the heart of the bride to be, content to add to her beauty as if she had met her calling in her short life. As the girl went to welcome the guests, the rose was meeting the world of humans, how fascinating. Everyone was so different. It felt as if she could hear the thoughts of humans for the first time. Everyone complimented on the beauty of the rose and its fragrance. with every hug, the rose was becoming happier, for bringing joy to the human world. Yes, she could have died in the garden without being noticed by anyone. The rose felt loved, valued, bringing a smile to everyone.
The groom to be came and after a big hug, he offered his birthday gift with much joy. She took the jewelry box, opened it, ahhhhhhhh. She was overjoyed by the beauty of the gold rose in form of a pin. Her hand immediately went to her mouth trying to contain her joyful emotions. He knew she loved roses. He took the rose off her dress, threw it to the ground and proudly put the gold pin on her dress instead. Everyone clapped with joy started singing the wedding song spontaneously as he had captured her heart with his thoughtful gift.
The rose was taking her last breaths. She reviewed her life as she was dying. Her heart was filled with sorrow. The girl chose the metal over her lively fragrance. The rose was puzzled, confused, how could one let go of life so easily? Life is sacred. She took her last breath with gratitude.
She went to school the next day nervous hoping that she wouldn’t be called to read. This was the first time she had written all by herself and her heart was pounding with anticipation. The class was quiet as the teacher looked at his book of names and then he called her name the first one to read. Her knees were shaking. she could hear the fast heart beat in her chest. She went in front of the class anxious, uneasy, worried what the teacher and the students are going to think of her writing. She started reading with a trembling voice. She tried so hard to feel calm and nothing was helping. She was plain scared. She noticed the teacher from the corner of her eyes going to the window, his back to the class looking outside. The class was in complete silence as she read. Never before the class was so mesmerized with a touching story. She was afraid to look at the students. When she finished, she slowly raised her head looking at the teacher worried.
There was a long pause. The teacher seemed to be in another dimension, his back still to the class. What was he thinking? she asked herself anxiously. Then after a few long minutes, he turned and asked;
” May I ask if anyone helped you with your writing?”
“No sir, this is actually the first one I have written with no help.” she said with an honest face hoping to be believed.
“Your grade is 20.”
“I am 75 years old now and this happened 61 years ago, yet I remember that feeling so vividly after all this time. A warm feeling of joy, passion, self-esteem entered my heart, a feeling never felt before.That teacher gave me the confidence to write, a priceless gift for a life time. He made me believe that my writing is worthy. Since then, I started to read all kind of novels and started writing. I was reading the books by the French writer Francois Sagan and I thought I could write like her and become the Sagan of Iran. whenever I read a story in class, everyone was silent and I felt as I had found out my passion in life. At times. the teacher would ask me to write my entire story on the black board for all the students to copy as an example of great creative writing. ”
I was on the phone with my soul sister after a long time of not being able to talk. She is the writer and I trust offering this gift will bring the flame of a passion long abandoned back to her soul.