The Edge of Decay by Isla Robertson


My mother grew orchids. Every time I am confronted with one now I feel her as she was. A forgotten memory of her soft perfume fills my lungs until I choke. Her sweet innocent laugh tugs at my throat and drowns my thoughts until I blink. I must blink. Blink away the visions prickling my pores. Blink until the fire ebbs away and the orchid glistens no more, still and silent in the breeze. 

Fragile beauty.

I have never seen an old orchid. Roses fade and crumple and die, a musty scent still hanging in the air. Orchids live and shine, trapped in their radiance, then nothing. Gone, just gone. Beauty undiminished, but vanished. Unsurpassable in its imprint, but gone, still gone. My mother was an orchid and her beauty, her unique magnificence, has departed. Plucked in an impulse, never to return. 

And I? I am glad. I am glad she did not linger as a rose for the sight of me now would surely cause her to wither away. Slow decay. I am not what she dreamed I would be you see. Once I was a bud, blossoming with youthful serenity. Sweetly oblivious of the thunder in the air, the dark scent of mingled sweat.

Intoxicating. 

Deadly.

I was unaware, as was she, that the seed she nurtured was so very corrupt.

I am a rare bloom. Exquisite, I’ve been called. Exotic. Brilliance without blemish.  A nature so pure, so innocent, so near perfection that surely I stemmed from Eden itself.  

My clients... Clients. Such a cold word. But a cold word for a cold profession. The icy heat of purchased passion. My clients have never stinted in their compliments. Adonis they called me. An Adonis to their mortal man. 

I do not recall the beginning, the first boyish indiscretion. Only the tantalising prospect of remuneration. I excelled beyond perfection then. A commodity beyond price. 

But now. Now a loathing courses through my veins.  A torrent of rage and pity rips me up as I know that my time is near.

Nectar transcended.

To poison.

I feel the decline as I sensed it with my mother. It catches my every nerve. Slows my every movement. The impending weakness. Death of immortality. It is a blight which must be irradiated. Beauty is sacrosanct.

I have strayed a lonely path in my time but beauty demands sacrifice. My mother understood, she did not resist. 

My clients... I should not have shared my seed with them, for though we could not cultivate, still it was a waste. A desecration of divinity.

I was the eternal orchid, far superior to my mother.  But my purity was defiled. I cannot bear now to look upon the orchids I once loved. My perfection wilts. 

I shall no longer linger on the edge of decay. 

© Isla Robertson 2017