She was older, cracks in a face like Greek marble, but still lovely. Lovely was in her eyes.

Her heart was a box of roses. You wanted them to have ribbons around the stems for future archaeologists, but they were unmarked, faded and dry and all looked alike. She knew them apart, though. You asked, "Whose was this?" And she just smiled.

One was for a mechanic, one was for a millionaire. One had black hair and dark skin, one was almost translucent, and one was covered from head to toe in rough blond hair. The names and details don't matter. They were loves and, like roses, faded.

You don't have to open up your heart. You can keep it closed. Refuse a single stem and demand a garden of your own where you can snap off all the buds you want. You might get it. Or you might hold your breath forever.

She took each kiss for what it was. She welcomed every gift with grace. One would have been enough. A box full was a blessing.

As she told you all this she continued to smile, but you were curling your napkin around your fingers, you were drumming your feet on the floor. "Love is simple," she admonished you gently. For her it was. You listened, but could not make yourself understand.

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