Thorn of the Rose Issue 15: A Petal
How can you develop a new trust?
Thorn reached out to her outstretched hand and crumpled into her embrace. They both sat on the ground and hugged, Thorn’s tears making a nearly silent stain on the woman’s thin cotton blouse, which was wreathed in blue and purple roses. Slowly, she lifted them both to stand and lean against the wall of the abandoned factory.
Like a butterfly that has just emerged and must wait for blood to enter its veins and fill its wings, Thorn waited there, unable to move or run, breathing life into muscles that had been frozen in terror for far too long. “Was that your mother?” she questioned softly, pointing to the body she had covered with a plain white sheet.
Thorn nodded. “I’m sorry,” she tightened her hug, holding both body and tears together.
“I wish I could have done more. I wish. . . “ her voice trailed off.
Thorn nodded again, unable to speak. She turned and Thorn sought to memorize her face, as a kind one. There had been so few faces like that, so few times they had been welcomed or treated as even human. For no one needed to be kind to an unregistered mother and child, even a starving one. Illegal. Vermin.
Thorn knew the faces that spat those words at them. Those faces were not worth memorizing, Thorn’s mother kept repeating. The ones who believe in kindness, those are the ones to understand. Thorn’s eyes travelled down her narrow cheekbones into a mouth that could melt into a smile, and then took in her lithe body, with dark farmer’s boots making an incongruous pairing with her shirt and green skirt. Glancing up and easing out of her embrace, Thorn met her eyes—a gray blue the color of the translucent sunsets in Denver’s west, when the air and light and smog were just right.
“We’d better go now,” she said, and touched their hands together, slightly, a guide, a suggestion only. Thorn followed her into the next alley over, then down that alley for a few more blocks, the early morning light showing the generations of wire fencing, older garages and back buildings that now housed the illegals. Furtive movements at broken or blacked out windows showed they were being watched, but no one came out to threaten them.
The riots, for the morning, were stilled. For just this moment, the illegals could breathe. Regroup. But no one dared enter the streets to mourn their dead.