Blue Rose

1:27 AM

Submitted to the 2011 CANVAS Romeo Forbes Children's Storywriting Competition
 based on an Untitled Piece (above) by Liv Vinluan

Felicia was at it again.  She was having one of her monumental tantrums when things don’t exactly go her way.  For an eleven year old girl, she was unusually and painfully fixated with perfection and especially spiteful of failure.

This worried her mother so much.  Her child should be enjoying her youth, she thought, instead of making her life miserable.  She could not exactly remember when Felicia started showing signs of this behavior.  She had always encouraged her to do her best like any mother would, but never knowingly implied that she is not allowed to fail.

“Felicia, Felicia, come out here in the garden!” her mother called out.

If there is one place that could calm her down, it would be her mother’s rose garden.  The garden was bursting with color at this time of the year.  With the roses now abloom, color was everywhere – velvety red, pearly pink, golden yellow, creamy white, orange gold, and all possible variations in between except for blue.  The closest to blue are the lilac-colored roses with a hint of blue tint.

Felicia came out after a few more coaxing.  Her eyes were red and puffy with crying.  She was visibly shaking as she tried to control her emotions.  Her mother’s heart bled at the sight of her young girl hurting.

“What is it Felicia? What happened?” her mother lovingly asked.

“It’s nothing Mama,” Felicia answered in a whisper, almost as if she was about to cry again.

“You know you can tell me anything, I’ll always be here to listen,” her mother prodded.

That sent the torrents of tears running as Felicia stammered, “I should have won the first prize Mama…I did everything to the letter… My project was perfect… I made sure of that.”  “They only gave me the second prize!” she finished.

“There’s nothing wrong with getting the second prize.  It means that they also appreciate your work but may have seen something in the other project that made them decide to award it the first prize.  You have to understand Felicia that we will not always get what we want in life, but it does not mean that we cannot be happy with what we have.  True happiness is hidden somewhere behind love and contentment and not in perfection.  We never stop trying to reach our goals but should not hurt ourselves if we sometimes fall short of our own expectations.” Felicia’s mother explained.

“Do you have one dream Mama that you really wish you’ll have?” Felicia asked.

Her mother slowly smiled and said, “Actually I do, I know it sounds petty but I have been wanting to have a blue rose.”

“Then why don’t you plant one in your garden?” Felicia was obviously incredulous at such a seemingly simple dream.  “Don’t we have fresh blue roses in our living room everyday?”

"Those are actually white roses dyed blue.  Alas, a blue rose does not exist in nature.  Roses lack the pigment to produce a true blue color.  In fact, its traditional meaning is the never ending quest for the impossible. That doesn’t stop me from enjoying the next best thing – perfectly blue-dyed white roses.”

With an almost childish glint in her eyes, she added, “Do you know that some cultures believe a wish is granted to anyone who gets hold of a true blue rose?” She then took Felicia into her arms and said, “You just might get lucky my child.”

Felicia’s eyes widened in pure amazement.  “Really, Mama?” she uttered softly.


It is clearly a struggle for Felicia to follow her mother’s advice.  She sees the opportunity to compete in every situation and the desire to be on top at all times.  This made her very unhappy but she could not help herself.  To her credit, she tried and tried and tried…

During this time, she started having a strange dream.  In this dream, she was running in an open field.  What particularly struck her about the dream were the blue roses, one tucked behind each ear.  The dream came often, showing the same scene over and over again of her running aimlessly and endlessly. In her dream, she felt very tired but could not stop for some reason she did not understand.

In the mean time, life went on as usual for Felicia.


The news came out of the blue.

Felicia’s mother was ecstatic about a true blue rose variety that was successfully genetically engineered and being tested for mass propagation.  Being a long-standing member of a rose club in the country, she will get to have a sample which was on its way to her.  Felicia saw the genuine joy in her mother’s eyes and wondered how such a simple thing can bring her so much happiness.  Her mother looked like a child who was so easy to please while she who was the real child carried grown-up problems which were making her lonely.

The coming of the much-awaited blue rose was welcomed by a small ceremony by Felicia’s mother and her. Beneath the pale moonlight, the rose garden was especially enchanting that night.  Every rose in the garden seemed to stand taller than usual enjoining everyone to see the beauty in the simple repetition of its petals and shape.  Truly, roses repay affection with their unmatched elegance.

Felicia’s mother took her hand so they can hold the blue rose together.  It is beautiful.  It is real.  What was previously impossible became possible because someone decided to continue trying in spite of earlier failures.

“Felicia, let me make this wish for you,” her mother said as they both closed their eyes intently.

“I wish you happiness that comes from within and from understanding that life is like a bed of roses with thorns intact which could hurt you but should not destroy you.  Our lives are not determined by our failures but by how we use them to eventually succeed.   You can be happy if you allow it by being not too harsh on yourself.  Other people are not judging you so do not be quick to do it on your own.  Learn to love and accept yourself.”

Felicia’s eyes opened in clear understanding and for the first time in many years, she felt truly happy.  “Yes Mama, I do understand,” she cried softly.


My Say

I have always thought of writing a story of my own although I haven't done anything about it till now.

That said, I'm glad I did. 


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