Saturday, January 12, 2013

Rose Petal Masquerade #12Masque

“Meet me in the rose garden.”
That voice. I knew it so well.
They said a new resident moved in today. But I didn’t know it was him. He wore a simple black mask, tied around his strong-boned face. He had always been the handsomest man in the room, the life of every party.
He winked, and disappeared into the crowd of swirling chiffon and lace. A sultry jazz tune drifted from the speakers in the crowded dining room, transformed into a glittering ballroom just for tonight.
I stole out to the garden. Moonlight bathed the manicured grounds in a silver glow. I followed the scent of the roses to the gate, and heard his footsteps trailing behind. 
Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I’d stayed with him. If I hadn’t chosen practicality and stability over passion. 
I’d raised three children with another man. But I always kept up with news on James, especially after my husband passed away.
“You look beautiful tonight, Eve.” His hand was on the gate behind me. His breath sent shivers of memories dancing over my skin. “Do you remember the first night we met?”
“How could I forget?” I turned, looking up at him. My hand drifted self-consciously to my frizzy white curls. “In my uncle’s rose garden. You guessed my favorite flower on the first try.”
“Lavender roses.” He plucked one from the vine, the petals rustling in the wind as he slipped it behind my ear.
Sixty years of marriage. I couldn’t remember the last time a man had tucked a flower in my hair. “How did you know it was me?”
“I saw you dancing.” His hazel eyes held a hint of mischief. “You can still move your hips better than any woman in the room.”
I skimmed a palm down the skirt of my pink dress. “I had one replaced. I haven’t danced much lately.”
“Maybe you could show me the scar later.”
He wiggled his eyebrows and I laughed, remembering how easy life was when we were teenagers. How simple life was before marriage, mortgages, children. He held out his hand. “Dance with me.”
I hesitated. I felt compelled to show him what lay beneath the mask, the years that had etched lines into my once beautiful face. My arthritic fingers toyed with the ribbon and I let it fall away. I let him look at me, at the lines, at the scar where Susie’s swing had caught me above the eye. I’d worn the mask of motherhood, wife, cook, chauffeur, teacher, counselor for so long; it was my portrait now. “This is me.”
He traced a thumb tenderly over the deep lines fanning out from my eyes—my laugh lines. “I think,” he murmured, “there’s still room for a few more.”

This piece was written for Meg McNulty's (@charitygirlblog) Twelth Night Masquerade Flash Fiction Contest. Rose Petal Masquerade is 467 words. I'd love to hear what you think!


  1. Oh Sophie, you made me tear up... her vulnerability and trust is so beautiful. Life runs away with us and we don't know what the future holds, but this is how we hope it'll be, with someone who loves us for all that we are!

  2. I cried. No denial here, because I loved it and this is the kind of writing that makes me believe when my head makes my heart falter. You're a beauty, Sophie, and your writing shows it.

  3. Beautiful! I teared up. SO lovely. Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. Quintessential Moss-romance, vulnerability, courage, all wrapped up in gorgeous roses. More flash fiction from you please.

  5. This is really cute. I love how at ease they are with each other after all this time and how comfortable she feels. The ending is really sweet; filled with laughter, young at heart and promise. xx

  6. Wonderful, how despite lifes trials we are still young at heart and how a true love is never really forgotten, no matter the years that pass. Loved it.

  7. I love it! I wish there was more. I wish it was an entire book.

  8. Beautiful, beautiful - and so deeply moving. You are the Queen of Romance Sophie Moss and you always have me wanting more!

  9. What a wonderful love story! Really heart-warming and sweet. I love James already!

  10. Of all the ways your lovely story could have ended, you chose something completely, uniquely, beautifully heart-inspiring. The characters in your story were a surprise to me and that's why I always enjoy your writing, dear Sophie. :)))

  11. Beautiful. I love the premise and I adore the way you accomplished it. What could have been sad is so very hopeful.

  12. Lovely and warm, very beautifully written. I love the moment of humor amid the sweet romance.

  13. Beautiful! i love all the different "masks" you named too. Well done.

  14. What a beautiful piece this is--and how good it is to read about a love that runs true after the space of of so many years and so many changes. Love that hip-replacement joke!

  15. I loved this story. The best part was when I realized she wasn't a young woman, but an older one re-discovering an old love. That really made me smile. Congrats on winning!

  16. I love this Sophie! Could he have been a ghost? Beautiful imagery!