Grey seeps into the pale pink colour like the skin of an old man during his dying breaths. It claws and grasps away at the gentle hues as death and decay trails behind. Vibrant and beautiful, the rose once stood in the vase but now it lay letting what was left of the colour drain into the surrounding water. Shrivelled were the petals and creased were the stems of the flower. Around the flower the friendly motion of start-of-the-lesson preparation was beginning and already some students had sat down with books and pens scattered across the table. Someone sat at the back of the room with a single pen in front of them, quietly observing the flower. They watched as the petals breathed gently in the passing breeze; each motion was strained and seemed to carry pain that very few would ever experience. The student sat and watched this pitiful nature of death.
Many years ago, they had been young, falling, running, jumping, running, leaping through the lush field with their parents. Despite it still being early in the year, the sweet aroma of wild flowers already danced through the air. Left to grow tall, the grass provided a wonderful new world for the girl to explore, filled with bright flowers, butterflies and berries. Her long dress quickly became torn and stained while her long hair tangled from a day of adventure. While she slept, her mother diligently washed and sewed the dress back together, as if she was sewing back the pieces of her own daughter.
The more the years went by, the quicker the seasons seemed to cycle, the faster the girl grew older. Her mother cried when she saw the cut hair, grasping at the thin and jagged strands trying desperately to hold on to what she already knew was lost. As the day fell into night they shouted at each other with voices high and tears falling freely. Outside the window the first terracotta leaf crumbled to the ground where it lay to rot. Soon after, the other leaves would fall with their varying shades of brown and orange- creating a sombre rainfall so true to the autumn season.
Cold was the winter which followed; snow smothered what was left of the scenery and ground hardened and cracked. Ice crawled onto the lakes and rivers, suffocating those creatures and plants which lay within. Food grew scarce and the small creatures which had lived in the field now lay to rest at the sides of the road, their bodies cold and lifeless. As the schoolchildren trekked home the harsh air squeezed between layers of coats and hats to freeze even the warmest of hearts and stifle the empty laughter. The rain fell, watering the corpses of those which had needed it most.
In the early weeks of the new year the girl tread softly along the stony path near to the field. A year ago, the field was filled with weeds and thorns- the kinds of plants which find their way through the cracks of the winter soil and squirm into the light. No crops lay in the field, no flowers were set to bloom, no life was encouraged to grow. A month ago, the farmers had come to rake up the soil. Their heavy machinery clanged and grumbled as it moved through the fields and scattered seeds of life which was to be. A day ago the shoots of new flowers has struggled through the cold earth in hope of light and warmth. Today, the shoots had broken the surface and stood proudly in bright green rows, enjoying their first dawn.
The student's focus gradually returned to the classroom where the bell had rung and the whispers were slowly dying. Stumbling over the names, the teacher attempted to call the register and the class began. She was repeating something and the student listened to the name which was called. Frustrated, the teacher spoke again, "Anna?"
"It's Adam", he replied.
The golden sunflowers beamed from the field outside.