Creative Writing

A Couple’s Mistletoe

By: Janet Akselrud


On New Year’s Eve Alora paced frantically around her house opening every drawer, checking under every table, glancing behind every chair, looking for a special branch of Hawaiian mistletoe: Hulumoa. She bought it at the end of her trip abroad to surprise Keanu, her partner who was born in Hawaii. They met in Honolulu and became a couple after Keanu moved to Arizona five months ago. This year was their first New Years together. Awaiting Keanu, Alora decorated her house to be cozy with a sprinkle of holiday cheer. Red checkered blankets covered the couch, candles burned by the window, pictures of happy memories hung on the wall, and a Christmas tree topped with a menorah stood in the living room. Everything fit together; even the smell of fresh-baked brownies. But, Alora didn’t bake any actual brownies; she used a few strategically placed air fresheners to help push that warm holiday feeling across. 

Keanu would be coming later in the day and Alora dreamed to start the evening off with a sweet kiss in the doorway. Taking a moment to breathe, and to turn her focus away from the music playing on Youtube, Alora racked her brain over all the places she already checked for the mistletoe: under the bed, in the closet, and on top of the boxes by the bookshelf. There was nowhere else.  I need something that represents love, Alora thought, and an idea struck her: in her town, Corys roses were the true symbol of love. Alora grabbed her coat and went over to Cory’s, nearly tripping on her way out. 

Cory Roselove was always home. He ran a rose farm and was there for anyone in need of a rose. When Alora showed up in the middle of lunchtime he led her to his garden. She walked around looking for a rose while Cory stayed on the porch and watched from a distance. He could see she was in a hurry but she took her time to pick. Those in love always do. 

In the row of red roses, Alora slowed down and about halfway through, came to a complete stop. “This one” she shouted with a smile bright and wide. Cory came over from his porch and cut the rose for her. He flipped it over and nodded. The stem was uniquely shaped like a heart. “This is a special moment,” Cory said, “take a second to look at the rose you picked out, gather all your best thoughts and feelings about the person this rose is for, and give the rose a gentle kiss.” As Alora gathered her thoughts, Cory saw a softness emerge on her face and a restlessness leave her body. She kissed the rose. Cory motioned to wrap the rose in patterned plastic and tie it with a string but Alora refused the decoration.

 Cory sold Alora the rose and she went home to hang it in the doorway. Once the sun had set, her doorbell rang. The door creaked open and Keanu was standing there, waiting, holding a rose of his own. He looked up at what was hanging in the doorway and then back down at his hands. Alora and Keanu had gotten the same color rose with the same honey smell. Keanus rose had a spiral stem and could perfectly intertwine around Aloras rose. He hung it up without a step further and kissed her right then and there. 

The roses had blessed them. Alora knew Kneau loved her and he knew she loved him without words ever needing to be said. You can’t leave with a rose from the Roselove farm without proving your love. Moving forward, it became a tradition for the couple to each separately buy a rose and every New Year the intertwining of two roses served as their mistletoe. As long as their roses were the same, Alora and Keanu knew they were connected with each other. Five years later, Keanu came home with a white rose. The rose hanging in the doorway was a pink one. He gave Alora a chance to take down her rose if she wanted to. Though she was confused, her rose was still hanging, Keanu made his move, got down on one knee and said “I propose our unity.”


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