Roses are supposed to be the flower of love.
I grew up around them. The front of my mother's house is lined with them. The brothers and I all had pictures taken in front of her prized perennials.
My favourite was the Prince Claus, a deep orange that captivated me.
But I've developed what is more than likely a psychological allergy to roses. One sniff of attar and I'm shaken by a violent fit of sneezes, my eyes become dry and scratchy, and a migraine starts to set in.
He moved back to Sydney that fall after flunking out of his phys ed program at X. But he promised to keep a watchful eye on me, especially since his last two girlfriends had cheated on him.
A watchful eye, it certainly was.
My parents installed a private phone line in my room. If I wasn't home when he called, he called my parents' line, demanding to know where I was. When they or my brothers said they didn't know, he would call my place of work, the number at my best friend's apartment . . . anywhere for which he had the number.
And always his first question for me was 'why aren't you home?'
Every two weeks or so, he would drive to Antigonish to visit me and hole me up in a shoddy motel room for a few brief hours every night.
(No sleepovers allowed. After all, I was a girl with a midnight curfew when I was in senior year of university.)
And every time he visited, he brought me roses.
So the power of love in roses has been stolen from me.
Win my heart? Bring me sunflowers or daisies. Sunflowers for warmth, happiness, adoration and longevity. Daisies for innocence and gentleness.
Roses, at least in my eyes and nose, are about control and power and jealousy and suffocation.
And there isn't a vase in my house that will hold them.