I still have your rose. The day you gave it to me, I kept it, ever so gently, between the folds of your letter, much like a baby tucked under a blanket. You had written the letter on a page torn out of your rough note book, the one in which you practised maths sums that gave you nightmares. The tear on the page had the disorderliness of India and Pakistan’s border. Perhaps you had reserved all your caution for the sweet smelling rose, ridding it of all its thorns, as if to say that despite your flaws, your love would be tender. It was.
But roses wither. The one you gave me lies in its resting place, wrapped between the white sheets. It has been flattened and has probably also left its mark on the letter. I don’t know for sure as I haven’t lifted its cover for a long time. Over the years, I have only pulled out the letter from under a weighty tower of souvenirs, held it and breathed the rose’s diminishing fragrance. Now, it carries none.