"I love you." he said, handing her the glass vial containing the flower. She took it, looking at the glass cylinder in confusion. "and this rose will live for as long as my love for you. When it dies, you're no longer on my mind all the time. And I no longer love you. But it won't die."
It was an unusual gift, and an unusual thing to say, and she didn't like the implication. Flowers didn't live long, and this one was encased in an airtight glass cylinder with no water. This single rose would surely be dead within days. She figured that it must be fake, made of paper or some other material. He had sentimentally given her a fake rose as a symbol of his love for her, knowing that it wouldn't die, and his love for her would live forever. It was sweet. She threw her arms around his neck and showered him with kisses. The vial was stood on the bedside table, and the two of them fell onto the bed, making love to one another before falling asleep in each other's arms.
It had been the first time he had told her that he loved her. There had been something on his mind for a month. She had naturally worried about that, he had seemed distant and been spending less time with her. Clearly, he loved her, and hadn't been sure how to confront his feelings for her.
The following two months were heaven on earth. They spent every waking moment together, and slept every night in the arms of one another.
One day it suddenly changed. She awoke to find herself alone in the bed. An envelope on the night stand propped against the paper rose contained a letter, telling her that he had to leave. He couldn't say why, but he did still love her.
What lies! If he loved her, how could he leave her so easily without an explanation?
She screamed out in anger, grabbing the glass vial containing the rose, she launched it at the wall opposite the bed. The glass shattered in all directions, the pieces catching the sunlight creeping through the curtains. The rose landed gently on the floor among the shards. She retreated to the bathroom in tears, and the paper rose just lay in the sunlight. After leaving the bathroom, she stormed out, slamming the door shut behind her. She didn't return until late in the evening. As she closed the door shut behind her, she collapsed against it in tears and sank to the floor.
Spotting the paper rose, surrounded by glass in the corner, she crawled toward it on all fours. Lifting the rose gently, she felt it for the first time. Its petals were velvet-like, its stem smooth, its thorns sharp. She contemplated this as the blood ran down her finger, the rose was not paper, but it was a very good fake. If it was indeed fake, but how could it be real? It had been encased for months in glass, with no water, and it still looked as healthy as the day she had received it.
Unless there was something in the cylinder. Something to prevent it dying, some kind of chemical. That must have been it. Although it had been laid on the floor for an entire day and was still looking healthy. Perhaps it would still survive for a few more hours. It would surely die soon. She decided to watch it die, it would no doubt wither now it was no longer in contact with the preserving element. She set the rose on the bedside table under the lamp, switching off the other lights, and laying on her side, watching it until she fell asleep.
She awoke the next morning to see that the rose was still alive and well. It must take longer, or it could still be a fake. The flower survived for a further heart-wrenching week, before she finally decided that it was definitely a fake. And she decided that she would make the flower die. If he no longer loved her, then the symbol of his love was a lie, and she would kill it herself. She tore off every individual realistic petal, until the flower was bare, and she left the stem on the night stand, before she left for the day.
Returning home in the evening, she was shocked to see the rose had inexplicably grown its petals back. She felt scared, it had to have been replaced. Had he done this? He hadn't left his key, maybe he had been tormenting her for some reason. She decided to confront him about it. Picking up the rose, she stormed out and drove to his home.