~~~~((~~~((@ THE ROSE GARDEN @))~~~))~~~~

From the memoirs of Chiba Mamoru, as re-told to Pandora Diane Waldron


"Mystery glows in the rose bed, the secret is hidden in the rose." --Farid ud-din Attar, 12th Century Persian poet.

Chapter 3: Why Am I Here?

"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet"

----------------------------------------Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet

"Why did you save me, Queen Serenity? WHY? Why did you end your own life? Surely, you heard your daughter’s voice. She loves you. She is SO young. She needs her mother still, to love her, to guide her. I heard her heart break, when she knew she would never see you again. She is alone now. And though I love her, I don’t know if I can ever take your place."


Mamoru stirred in his sleep then, and in a subconscious gesture, ran his fingers through his thick dark hair, matted with perspiration. But the emotions stirred by the dream were too powerful. So with a sigh, he slowly rose and went out onto the balcony. How often he had done this when he couldn’t sleep; gone out to breathe the cool night air, looking at the clear white moon, which somehow seemed to hold in it, all the secrets which eluded him. For hours, sometimes, he would stand there, arms on the balcony railing, staring up into the night sky. Or at times, tired and discouraged, with his head resting on his arms, his eyes unseeing, but he would be still standing, still thinking. Till finally, exhaustion took hold, and he would go back to bed, those inner questions still unanswered.


That is the point at which I always wake up. With those thoughts. I just don’t know why I’m still here. It feels wrong. And I don’t feel right in this new skin...who am I, really? Chiba Mamoru, this name that means nothing to me? Or Prince Endymion, who died a long time ago? Or Tuxedo Kamen, what I have become, in answer to something that calls to me... a memory, a very distant memory, of a princess, and of a red, red rose. And that’s all it was, for so long. Until recently, when all my memories of that first life came crashing in on me.

And the second life...I can’t even remember its beginnings. The first memory is loneliness. Terrible, terrible loneliness. A small boy, looking at his own face in a hospital mirror, an oval blank, swathed in bandages. Parents dead, apparently. Accident, they say. Poor boy. All alone. They walk around me, and whisper. But no one will talk to me directly. Except to tell me what to do. Wear these clothes. Go here. Go there. Eat this. I am a problem. They all want me to go away, I can feel it.

And finally, I do. I walk out in the rain, umbrella in hand, in my pyjamas. Snitched the umbrella from one of the nurses. She didn’t even miss it ... or ME. Nobody missed, or cared about ME. But even then, I was good at slipping away without anyone noticing. Don’t even know why I went out there. But out there is another little guy, and his face is even sadder than mine. Why didn’t I run away then? No one wanted me. I really don’t know. I guess I’ve just never been the type of guy who runs away from anything.

So I bring him back with me. I have a little hospital room, it’s warm, and there is somewhere to sleep here. The little guy, Fiore, he is so cold and shivering. I just can’t leave him alone out there. And I’m not alone anymore. And those dumb nurses, they don’t even check on me very often, don’t even know someone else is sharing my room. I am observant, I know when they make their rounds. I know exactly when to hide Fiore. Until he’s gone.

And just before he has to leave, this little girl visits my room. She’s really tiny, and kind of sweet, with blonde hair in curls. The first time I saw her, I felt sort of strange. As if we’d met before. And having amnesia, I had no idea. Maybe we had met before, and I just couldn’t remember.

But this, I DO remember. She gave me a rose. A red rose. And said, "Congratulations!" And then said something about that she had become an older sister that day. I wasn’t paying much attention, then. I was feeling much too sorry for myself. All I heard, was her saying that I could use the rose as a goodbye gift for my friend, Fiore. My friend, who could not stay. I was going to be alone again, and it was eating me up inside.

She gave me the rose, and as our hands touched, there was a blinding flash of white light. And again, I had that feeling. That I had seen that white light somewhere before. And then, she was gone. I think her father called, and she went bouncing down the hall, the little curls bobbing up and down as she walked. And I found myself watching...her hair. Weird! She looks just like a little bunny, I thought. Bounce, bounce, bounce, just bubbling over with happiness. Wish I could feel like that.

The hospital corridor door closed with a bang, as they always do. Like prison, those heavy metal doors clanging shut, and you hear that hollow sound, the sound that tells you that no one is in that long echoing hallway. No one here but me, and the little rose. That I must bring to Fiore.


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