The Missing Rose

16 Feb

I usually go grocery shopping to the same place – a matter of habit you may say. I park at the exact same place, shop for pretty much the same stuff and usually go the same day. I thought today would be no different. But it was. He wasn’t there.

I used to see him there quite regularly and around the same time. He approached me plenty of times, always dressed in the same clothes. Same but clean. And I always marveled at how clean and well-groomed he seemed; not something you would expect from a person who did what he did. He would approach with always the same question and I would always turn him away with a “No”.

Until that one day. That was the last time I saw him.

Breaking my monotone of a ‘no’, I ask, “Do you go to school boy?” After all, he looked like a decent kid meant to be in school. It was way past school hours though.

“Yes ma’am, I do”, came his reply in proper English. I’m taken aback slightly but satisfied with his answer, I do indeed purchase a rose from him, like he always wanted me to.Rose

“Then why do you do this… sell roses this way?” I counted four more rose stems in his hand, what’s left for the day I suppose.

He said something I doubt I’d ever forget.

“Ma’am, I don’t have a father ma’am. I do this to support my family…”

It felt like a bolt of lightning. And I felt it almost immediately… regret. Regret that I turned him away every single time before. Regret that I didn’t buy a rose from him all those days. Regret that I couldn’t even contribute 20 bucks to this brave boy’s household…

I bought two roses that day. They somehow seemed to have lasted longer than the ones I’ve ever bought before…

And like always, I go to the same grocery shop today. As always, I buy the same stuff. As always, I park at the same place.

It’s not quite the same.

As I step into a warmer-than-usual pre-summer eve, my eyes scan each face around.

I don’t see him.

I wish I did. I wish I could buy a rose from him.

My head fills with thoughts and not-so-pleasant possibilities of what the kid might be going through right now and I try to push them away. “He’s alright, that boy”, I hope desperately, as I drive back. I enter my home and my eyes spot the flower vase. A rose ought to be in it. Perhaps two. Yeah… two roses. Wish they were there.

Image courtesy: Dreamerwhit95 @

Posted by on February 16, 2013 in Life


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3 responses to “The Missing Rose

  1. Atul

    February 16, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Passing thought, nicely comprehended.

  2. Bharti

    February 17, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Very similar to what happened with me. On my way back home .. When i used to stop at traffic light .. I saw a small boy … And i usually do not encourage giving money but that day it was my mom’s b’day and looking at his condition .. Clothes he was wearing i gave him some money .. And from that day onward, I used to wait to find him .. Which i did for couple of days .. And used to help him every time either with money or food .. But than one day he just vanished … And today also i wish he is fine … Life can make u experience the most unexpectable things !!!

  3. David

    February 25, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    Indeed, there should be more roses in your vase. May you spot that boy again and bring in a bunch of roses and smiles!

    Touching! 🙂

    am glad you wrote about this incident – it is often when incidents speak to your heart, you actually speak about them…. Here’s praying that the li’l boy does well in life 🙂



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