A Rose is A Rose is A Rose

They do not exist in nature.

I went down to the flower district on 28th Street in the early morning. So many fresh cut flowers. It’s still the beginning of March. You rarely see so many bloomed flowers this time of the year. I walked into the first shop.

“Where can I find Applause?”

One of the men who seemed in a hurry loading a truck pointed to a man and said,

“Ask him.”

“Do you carry Applause?”

 

“What’s Applause ?” the man asked.

“Well, it’s the first, true blue rose.”

He shook his head. “Never heard of it.”

“Ok, thank you.”

I walked out. I walked into the next flower shop.

“Do you carry Applause?”

A man shook his head. “No, but you might want to go across the street. They are the rose experts.”

I walked across the street into the shop. I saw rows and rows of roses in all kinds of hues: red, white, green, pink, and orange.

“Do you carry Applause?”

“Huh? What is it?”

“It's the first, true blue rose. Created by Suntory.”

“Well, we carry dyed roses. I can make it any color you want. I have a vendor out in Ecuador who would dye it in any color.” The man continued. “I can have them delivered in a week.”

Who knew? All these colorful flowers make such a journey. I went on to five other shops and the answers were all the same: they had never heard of Applause.

 

Applause is the world's first blue rose.

This is not the first time I have been looking for the blue rose. It’s been one of my rituals every time I walk by a flower shop. It has fascinated me for years. My first encounter started with a newspaper clipping. The article discussed the development of this mythical specimen and how the elusive blue rose may finally be attainable through modern biotechnology. “How exciting,” I thought. If they succeed, what else can be done? The possibilities are limitless. The vivid color and what it symbolizes, mystery, and longing to attain the impossible, everything attracted me. I often dream about the blue rose. The satisfaction and how happy I can be if only I could just hold it in my hand. It haunts me in my sleep.

Why is it so hard to find it? Where can I find this rare blue rose when no one has even heard of it? Finding it seems to be an unattainable dream.

Pelargonidin
Cyanidin
Delphinindin

* * *

A letter arrived in a white crisp envelope. I carefully opened it/pulled the thick
stationery apart.

Dear Applause seeker,

Thank you for contacting our lab. After carefully reviewing your application, you have been selected to receive Applause.

You will soon be one of the few owners of Applause, a technically sophisticated and wondrously stunning flower. It is a rose that is genetically modified to synthesize delphinidin with 100% blue-pigmented petals. The kind of pigments that plants synthesize is determined by nature, depending on what kind of genes they have. Roses do not carry those genes. However, after 20 years of research, the “impossible” has become possible. We are proud to be the first distributor of this phenomenon invention.

For the best results, hiring a trained handler is advised. Please follow the instructions on the back of this letter to take further action.

 

When you possess Applause in your own two hands, we are certain that you will feel your perseverance in searching for this impossible dream has been fulfilled.

 

Sincerely,

Suntory

A few weeks have passed and there it was. A tall man dressed in black appeared at my door. He was holding a long green box. It’s here!

He gave me a list of things he needed to proceed: a long table, a jar of fresh water, scissors, and clear glass vases. He put on gloves and a surgical mask.
He opened the box carefully then took the blue roses out. What a brilliant beauty. I was stunned by its vibrant color. Such an ethereal blue. I observed every move he made. He trimmed all the leaves carefully. Placed the flowers one by one into the clear glass vases. He carried out his task with precision. It took him about half an hour to finish his work. After he was done, he handed me a sheet of paper full of instructions on how to take care of them. Silently, before I could ask about the detailed list or even thank him, the men left my home. He left me alone with them.

 

I know they will wither and eventually lose their beauty but I don’t care.

Now, they exist in my living room.

©2020 by Heeseo Choi