All the Petals Are Gone

PHOTO PROMPT © Marie Gail Stratford

Sleepy-eyed and slightly bummed about
my first Valentine’s Day alone,
I walked into the kitchen
to pour a cup of coffee.
In a beam of sunlight
on the kitchen table
I found
A rose.
With a note.
“I love you, Mom.”
The best Valentine’s Day ever.
That afternoon,
words blared from the radio
Another school shooting . . .
. . .Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
A week ago, a lifetime ago
this rose was ready to bloom.
I wanted to keep it forever.
But all the petals are gone.


It’s hard to believe that a week ago, in the morning hours before an afternoon of horror, I wrote a story about a blossoming high school love.

How quickly things can change. How terribly things can change.

Friday Fictioneers is a compilation of writers from around the world who gather online weekly, guided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The challenge? To write a story in 100 words or less based on a new photo prompt.

To read more stories in an online flash fiction anthology by Friday Fictioneer authors, click:

Thank you for the photo prompt, Marie Gale Stratford. It made me think of many stories, but this one was prominent in my mind.

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17 Responses to All the Petals Are Gone

  1. Dear Jan,

    So much sorrow and heartache. While the great debates rage, 17 families are in anguish. Your poem is perfect.




  2. Yeah, so much sorrow indeed. Well done.


  3. Moon says:

    Such a terrible tragedy! Such a moving poem.
    A great tribute, Jan.


  4. trentpmcd says:

    Such a tragedy. This was a great tribute. We need to remember the love of those who are gone, not the hate of the one who took them.


  5. Dale says:

    A tragedy that seems to keep repeating. Lovely take on the prompt, nonetheless..


  6. James says:

    We can’t let tragedy crush us because in the wide, wide world, there is always tragedy. There is also always wonder. Cherish what we have now rather than mourn it when it passes.


  7. Michael says:

    Your story and comment reminds me, that the human race has so very much to learn still. Lovely writing about the sad side of life.


  8. k rawson says:

    Wrenching story. Such sorrow for those families.


  9. granonine says:

    This just knocked me breathless. Such joy, such sorrow. In a moment.


  10. pennygadd51 says:

    Desperately sad. I agree with James when he encourages us to cherish what we have, but I believe we need to mourn too. And an event like this affects us all. You’ve written this so movingly, Jan


  11. Such tragedy for the next of kin, for friends and everyone… here in Sweden the pathetic man who killed 5 people with a lorry is finally facing justice in court. I wonder if we can ever learn on why they do what they do…


  12. The biggest tragedy is that none of it NEEDS to happen, it is not a natural calamity, it can be avoided, if humanity tries hard enough, together.


  13. Joy Pixley says:

    Tragedy can strike any time, and lives changed in a moment. I like how you tied it in with the image of the dead flower.


  14. Dahlia says:

    That would have been the best Valentine ever but for the terrible tragedy. So heartbreaking and tragic


  15. How quickly things do change.. and I felt his mom’s sudden grief at the end. Well written tribute to those who lost their lives.


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