There was a flower in my yard which wouldn’t stop blooming.
It grew straight up from the ground, like an arrow. I didn’t plant it. I didn’t recognize the variety, even. One stalk, one bloom, and leaves only around the base. It had a pink-red color to it, with heaps and heaps of petals.
The petals are what made it special. When one layer fell, another grew. I thought, at first, that I must be imagining it. I didn’t even notice it for over a month. I’m not much of a gardener. I really just trim up the edges and weed every once in a while in hopes that my yard will have some illusion of being kempt.
When the second month of summer passed and I realized that same bloom still thrived, I took notice. I checked on it twice a day. A pile of petals collected below its base. It seemed unaffected by wind or rain, or whether the sun shone.
I posted about it on Twitter. At first, nobody cared. Those that commented assumed I was lying. I would have done the same. Who’s ever heard of a flower with an everlasting bloom?
When autumn came and the bloom still grew strong, I set up a webcam and began to live stream it. I know it seems like an odd response, but I’d been thinking about becoming a YouTuber or streaming my life for a while before that, so this seemed like a sort of halfway point to that goal. After all, all I had to do was set up the stream and forget about it. I barely had to pay it any mind.
I didn’t get many viewers, at first. That should be no surprise. Who wants to watch a flower shed petals? It’s boring.
Then people began to notice that, yes, this flower was blooming in winter. I got a lot of questions about whether it was fake or not. I told them no. What else could I say? The only defense I had against their accusations was the truth.
I drew the interest of the botany department at a nearby university. They asked if they could come examine the flower. I said yes, because I wanted to know more about it. I thought that, perhaps, it was just some sort of plant that I’d never heard of.
They had no knowledge of it, either. They wanted to transplant it somewhere closer to them, so that they could examine it further, but I said no. They couldn’t guarantee me that whatever caused the phenomenon wouldn’t be disrupted by transplantation. They lost interest when I refused to take money from them. I thought I could better monetize it in other ways.
My livestream became more popular. Throughout any one day, I had thousands of viewers. Most people didn’t watch for very long. I found out that some of those who did were leaving it on in the background as they did other things, as a sort of live, peaceful screensaver. I even saw it playing on a screen at my doctor’s office.
I upgraded my webcam to a much nicer model. I had a landscape artist come and make the area around the flower look better. I took out an insurance policy on it. After all, it seemed to be entirely unique. It produced no seeds, only more and more petals, so I had no way to replicate it.
For Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I put a display of candles around it. People streamed like one of those crackling fireplace videos. I had the most viewers I’d ever had around that time. The snowflakes falling in time with the petals, lit by the soft glow of the candles, made it the loveliest thing in my life for which I could claim any kind of credit.
I wouldn’t say the flower became a sensation, but people knew about it. I saw a news piece or two about it. They actually invited me to talk. I declined. I didn’t want to be famous.
The flower bloomed for twenty-one years. In all that time, it never stopped. I began to sell the petals in an online shop. A friend of mine, who’s much craftier, put them in jewelry and bookmarks and stuff. People thought they were good charms for a long life. We didn’t even put that out there. It just started.
When it died, it felt like nobody noticed. Just me. Thousands of people knew that flower, but I was the only one who felt that empty hole in my day when I walked through my yard, the only one, I thought, who mourned it. After all, to them, it was just a flower: just a neat diversion from life, just something a little bit interesting that made the say, “Huh.”
In the end, only one person really cared.