Where the bougainvillea used to bloom

johns bougainvillea
Photo by John Fernandes

Two years have passed since the bougainvillea last flowered. The green leaves still frame the window of my bedroom, but the vine has not put on any blossoms since you left. The branches are covered in robust, green leaves, but these are just symbols of missed encounters and twice-broken promises.

The vine, like my bed, has not bloomed in two long years. Outside my window, the wind howls, just as it did before; summer storms rile the leaves, bend the trees and spend their frenzy; birds from the countryside come to sing their song in this city garden. But, my days, lined up end-to-end, are consumed without fire.

There is no flame to ignite them when you are not here.

Afternoons we lay sweated on the sheets, hovering softly above our lives, cherishing each breath that came with each splendid beat of our hearts.

But now there is only quiet and contemplation. A vast, sepulchral silence has settled over my life since then. It is the silence of cathedrals and ashrams and monasteries. It is the silence of portents, of ellipses that bulge with meaning — but I am beyond confusing inertness with wisdom. Silence, it turns out, is a lonely companion.

Still, there are no hard edges on any of this. Everything that could cut and damage is softened by sweet memories that come back to me. Hardwood floors, a leaky faucet that burbled like a fountain, a silver-handled hairbrush with which I brushed my hair in anticipation of you. I have made my peace with all this; after all, who has the right to live forever?

We shared afternoons unregistered on any clock; we wore names only spoken by each other; we traded caresses that would be stored forever under lock and key. All this I can cherish and endure, but what I cannot bear is that my garden has turned against me. How could the vine refuse to bloom?

In two years, the bougainvillea has not bloomed and now I wonder if it ever will again.

2 responses to “Where the bougainvillea used to bloom”

  1. Silvia Biasioli Avatar
    Silvia Biasioli

    Perfect with the illustration. How well you can put into words the feeling of solitude, and missing and love not lasting for ever!.

  2. admin Avatar

    Silvia, Many thanks for your comment. It’s great to hear from you again. Take good care — Kevin

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