The roses had already been dead for more than a week, but I couldn't bear the thought of putting them in the trash.
Twice, the cats had knocked the vase over. The first time, I came home to find it knocked over on the middle of the table, water still slowly but steadily dripping across the table, onto the floor. I had left my three new journals and paperback stacked neatly next to the flowers. The once-crisp pages were now wet and bumpy. Ruined before I could write on a single page.
The second time the vase knocked over I was in the bathroom. I heard it crash against the table and opened the door, quickly. Mufasa was sitting perfectly still next to the overturned roses as if it never happened. "Dammit!" I picked up the already-dying flowers and glared at her.
She blinked at me, slowly, then yawned.
I probably should have just pitched them right then and there, but I couldn't. I carried the vase to the kitchen, refilled the water, then placed the vase gently back in the middle of the table in the other room.
There's something so hopeful about that bouquet of flowers when you get them, whether someone walks in carrying them as a surprise, or you simply pick them up at the grocery store. They're fresh, beautiful, vibrant. My mood instantly lifts when I'm standing in the kitchen, arranging a bouquet of flowers. For the short time the roses lasted, everything looked brighter, nicer, more romantic, even.
But even if you arrange them just so, if you know just the right tricks to keep them alive longer, still you know, as soon as you set that new bouquet out, that sooner rather than later, they will be dead and drooping. My cats immediately attack flowers, chewing and swatting and biting at them. As soon as they're even in the same room as flowers, their little cat noses start twitching, and you can tell they are about to freak out. But every time, I still put them where they can reach them, because I keep hoping and kidding myself, that maybe this time, they'll just leave the flowers be.
Of course, they didn't. So after a solid week of chiding the cats and fretting over the roses' safety, I almost forgot what the table looked like before they were there.
Of course I couldn't just throw the roses—white roses, edged with pinks and reds—in the garbage. It seemed so unfair, like I was pretending they'd never existed. So first, I saved a few of the dried buds and stuck them on the bookshelf. The table looks bare and boring without the vase.
The roses are still beautiful. Just in a different way, like they know something they didn't before.