Prose

Number 45

When I was growing up, my father cared for the most perfectly deep pink camellia plant, grown in a big terracotta pot. Along with other tender members of our plant family, there was always a big production of bringing it into the house for winter, then taking it back out when the risk of frost had passed.

I love flowers. Always have, always will. But there is something special for me about the camellia. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the camellia is native to China, yet somehow, she made her way to Britain, where she would be treasured by others.

Camellias in Melbourne, Royal Botanic Gardens

The photo above was taken 12th September 2017 in Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. The below was written on 7th May 2021 and inspired by a real-life No. 45 as photographed by Bea @a_london_story

In the heart of spring, the pink camellia tree in front of number 45 continued to bloom. Across from it, on the opposite side of the top stone step, was a fruit tree, planted long ago in a repurposed whiskey barrel. Both of them exuded a warmth to passersby, but there were really only two people in the world who could truly appreciate them.
The front door, made of the blackest wrought iron and white frosted glass, was equal parts functional and romantic. The lines, circles, and curlicues of iron, for all their stoicism, stood weathered, yet firm in the face of the cold and inevitable rain the door would be subjected to in a year. In stark contrast, the white frosted glass, probably intended for modesty by the home’s original owner, had a new, sacred purpose.
They were all too frequently ships in the night. Like the sun and the moon, the path of one would often skirt that of the other, but rarely would they cross.
But when they did, there was a guarantee of fireworks. They would wait to withdraw behind the glass, out of the gaze of anyone else’s prying eyes. A cozy embrace would quickly lead to a passionate kiss. Behind the safety, privacy, and anonymity of the frost, the two souls could be themselves. Their best selves, for themselves and each other. In a moment such as this, they could forget what it had been like without the other.

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