It was with a weak hello she answered the phone. “Rosy!” I asked, “May I write about you?”

“What’s there to write about me Bob?” she asked, a smile in same feeble voice.

“Plenty!” I said, and my mind went to the magnificent pots she coloured and which I said I would help her sell, “Why should I pay so much?” a customer had asked me after he had seen the pot, “Because It’s not just a painting on a pot!” I said, “That pot holds the story of a beautiful, strong woman, standing tall and resolute, smiling and telling the world, “I do not want to become dependent on others! I will move forward with determination and paint a path for others to follow! That others may look on what I craft and realize they can do anything they decide to if they have the will!”    

“There are many women like that!” said the customer.

“Not many with rheumatoid arthritis!” I whisper, “in which every stroke has been done with excruciating pain, a triumph of determination, when each splash of colour speaks of victory over agony, joy over sadness, firm resolve over depression!”

Tears flood my eyes, as I remember her, a young girl, a beauty to behold when she’d got married to a friend of mine, and then rheumatoid arthritis began its tale of dastardly destruction, and I’d watched same pretty face contorting in agony as she tried to serve tea when I’d visited their house, and later seen her bent, making painful effort to stand straight, walk tall as the disease tried to bend her in submission.

“With all that, she painted this?” asks the customer

“Yes!” I say proudly

And suddenly to him the pot is a work of art, priceless, more than a Hussein or Picasso, a red rose, blossoming out, strong and vibrant, telling the world that even in the midst of adversity, pain and discomfort, a rose can bloom. 

“How difficult was it Rosy?” I asked once.

“I trained my hands to hold the brushes firm, it was painful, especially when they had to learn to squeeze out the paints. At first my art was all blobs and muddles, then one day through all those smudges I saw something forming! Bob you should have seen me when the picture was finished!”

“I had to keep her from falling,” chuckled her husband, my friend, “She was shaking with joy, and I thought to myself, ‘my Rosy has blossomed!”

I hear the sounds of moaning, people giving up for loss of a job, sickness, death of a loved one or broken relationship and I hear her voice, “What’s there to write about me Bob?”

“Plenty!” I say, “That despite disappointment, dejection and despair, a rose can bloom, not a wall flower, nor a pale pink, paper printout, but a blood red rose..!

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