Origami Roses – by Joseph Arnold (College)

He leaves roses around the house. Tiny paper roses, folded and creased so carefully, so beautifully, that I cannot even bear the thought of touching them. Always scattered in the strangest of places, completely at random, it would seem to any outsider. Up and down the stairs of the porch. On the window seat in the study. Under the kitchen sink. Within the wardrobe. Even inside the blanket fort where he sleeps every night to hide from the pressing darkness, they are gathered around his head, a flowery halo.
His need to make order of chaos is insatiable. The acts of folding and unfolding, of creasing and pressing, provide a small but necessary comfort. This rhythm, the repetitiveness of it all, gives him what little control we have left. His way of explaining the unexplainable.
Yes, at first glance, an outsider certainly could not guess the truth. But on closer inspection, it would not be difficult to figure out.
The stairs of the porch, where he sat to break beans with her. The window seat in the study, where he curled up in her lap so she could read to him. The kitchen sink, under which he sulked when he was cross with her. The wardrobe, where he hid whenever they played hide-and-seek because he knew she would always find him there. The blanket fort, constructed of the quilts she so lovingly stitched together, just for him. Even the tiny paper roses his deft little fingers work so hard to make, his own confused form of beatification. Her favorite flowers, perfect for decorating a casket. Hard goodbyes. Pieces of the past. Hallowed offerings on hallowed ground. Another night—heavy and dark—come and gone.
Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Nutshell Narratives 2019-03
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