La Vie en Rose

I was reading “The Moon and Sixpence” in the Commonwealth Avenue Park when a guy came to me.

“This is a rose for you.”


At first I was embarrassed, because I always associate red roses with utmost passion, something too rich and strong in their fiery and temporary beauty. Even my ex-boyfriends never bought me roses. Moreover, dressed in a casual tank top and shorts, I looked dreadful and grubby after a day’s work in the homeless shelter. So the situation did not make much sense to me.

The guy in front of me did not look like a playboy or a scammer. With black spectacles and a backpack, he actually looked meek and sincere.

I decided to be adventurous. “This is beautiful. Thank you so much,” I said.

Expecting him either to ask me for a donation or tell me about his product or organization, I brought the velvety blossom near my nose and smelt the refreshing fragrance.

However, with only a “Thank you! Have a nice day,” he left.

Nonplussed, I shouted “You too!” towards his direction, and from his back, I could see a few more roses in his hands, vividly red and waiting to be given out.

I couldn’t help smiling at the beautiful rose in my hand. In the gentle breeze, I felt the hot, golden fingers of sun on my skin, heard the rustle of leaves like a paean to life, and this dashing little flower, was the messenger of simple goodness.

As I continued with my reading, a middle-aged lady approached me.

“May I know what it is written on the note?” she asked, pointing to the pink note tied to the stem of the rose.

I lifted it up for her to read.

“Oh, he offered the rose to me just now but I was suspicious,” she sighed, “I feel so bad for rejecting it.”

“Well, that’s why you need to be more open to love.”

We both laughed.

I am glad that by accepting love, I also “spread the love”, like the note writes. I wondered why the guy did this, how many roses he started with, and how many times he was rejected.

It takes courage and efforts to love and to be loved, but the richest reward is always for the brave ones.

Quanzhi Guo

Quanzhi Guo

Quanzhi Quo is a sophomore at Colgate University. You can contact Quanzhi Guo at