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Little Flower
by Winter

Little Flower, it was a cold and rainy night that you came to me. So tiny, so fragile, so precious. Such tender blue eyes that looked into mine and captured something inside of me. Something you never let go. You were just an infant, and I was just a child, but I knew that I had met true love. Your mother let me hold you, never once afraid I would drop you. She needn't have worried. I knew from that very instant that I could never, ever hurt you. I think you had a name, but it never really mattered. You were my Little Flower, and you never answered to anything else. Watching the way you instantly settled down in my lap, like you belonged there, and seeing the brilliant radiance shining from my eyes down on you, both your parents and mine knew something had happened. Knew and agreed.

Little Flower, I watched you grow. I was there when you took your first, staggering steps. My name was one of the first words you spoke. I was there as you, wide-eyed, took the entire world in. I was there to watch your fascination with everything, your amazement over all the things there were to see, to know. I walked with you to your first day of school, and you hugged me good bye, struggling to keep your tears in check. That afternoon, you just couldn't stop talking about it all. And I was there to listen. As the years passed, my love for you only grew. Ever since you were old enough to stay out of diapers, we had shared the same bed, either in your house or mine. You would always snuggle up to me, insisting that I'd wrap my arms around you. Even as we grew and changed, this remained a steady, trusted constant.

Little Flower, I will never forget that day. You had hurt your knee while playing in school, and when I got home I sat down next to you and gently stroked your bandage. You were so proud of your war wound, an eight years old soldier beaming as you told me you hadn't shed a single tear. I fussed over you that day, carrying you wherever you wanted to go, bringing you whatever you wanted, and you thoroughly loved it. As it got late we went to bed, and you turned over to face me as I turned out the light. I felt your soft lips brush against mine, and I could smell your sweet breath as you whispered to me, `I love you'.

Little Flower, we were inseparable after that. Young love blossoming until just a stray thought of you was enough to make my heart bounce with joy. And you felt just the same, you always assured me. I was so scared when you gathered our parents to tell them, but all we got were smiles. They knew. To them, it had been unavoidable that our love would deepen and grow until we had to become a couple. They accepted, and we were happier than ever before. That night I held you close and we kissed for a very long time, until we finally fell asleep, locked in a tight embrace.

Little Flower, I hadn't thought it possible, but my love for you only grew as the years passed. You transformed from the little boy I used to carry on my back into a beautiful young man, and everywhere we went I could feel envious eyes upon us. Our love was too big to hide, too strong for anyone to object to. I felt so proud that you were mine, and I loved you even more because you said the same back to me. We made love for the first time on your sixteenth birthday, our bodies now sharing the passion our minds and souls had held for so many years. You cried afterwards as I held you to me and kissed your face, too happy and contented to hold back your tears.

Little Flower, our long, sweet summer slowly started to reach its end. And as autumn sets in, all flowers must wither. At first, you tried to reassure me that everything was fine, that you were just coming down with the cold. But that wasn't true. It all happened so fast, so mercilessly fast, and all we could do was to cry together. Not mourning that which had been, but weeping for that which would never come. I never left your side, staying in the hospital with you all the time.

Little Flower, I cradled you in my arms as you faded. Your precious smile faded as your breathing ceased. Your brave heart beat once more, twice... Then there was silence. I was too empty to even cry, as I stroked your hair and caressed your face, whispering words you couldn't hear of reassurance you didn't need.

Little Flower, I slowly bend down to place your namesake next to the stone. A tiny rose that holds all my love for you. I hope, wherever you are, that you are happy there. I don't know how long it'll take before I join you there, but I know you will wait for me. I know you will greet me there, your blue eyes shining with love, your sweet smile fading from your lips only when they kiss me.

Little Flower, you were plucked too soon.