1998 年，我正在俄罗斯留学。那一年的情人节，莫斯科很冷，气温达到了零下 38度，而且天空飘满了雪。尽管如此，兜售玫瑰的小贩们依然不停地穿行于大街小巷，让这爱情的信物无止无息地燃烧，温暖着那些置身爱情中的人们。
it to, I felt that it was insulting me with its nobility. I threw it into the air with all my strength, the red petals drifting onto the street along with the snow.
At this moment, the old lady who sold me the rose caught up with me. I thought it might be my behavior which insulted her. “I put my wishes on every petal,” she complained. “You shouldn’t have ruined that rose.”
“But,” I spoke haltingly, “nobody is going to accept my rose.” I told her of my failure in love.
“Go and bring that girl back here, I will tell both of you a story,” she said in a commanding tone.
I was a little hesitant, but still dialed Ye’s phone number. Ye came finally, braving the snow.
“My children,” the old lady said. “This is a household story here in Russia, but you Chinese may not have heard it. If you don’t mind, I will tell you.” Both Ye and I nodded simultaneously.
“During the Great Patriotic War,” she said, “here was a battlefield. A couple of newlyweds were forced to separate, for the man was going to fight for their country. Before leaving, he said to his wife, ‘ Can you stay in this house to wait for me? I promise I will come back.’
“The battle raged on fiercely. One year later, their hometown became the frontline, too. According to the order of the local authority, the locals had to withdraw. But she didn’t, still remembering their appointment. She decided to stay in the house to wait for his return.
“She then became a nurse on the frontline, and the house became the field hospital. She carried the wounded soldiers away, braving a rain of bullets and buried the dead one after another with the other medical workers.
“The battle ended with a victory for the bold Soviet people. But it cost too much. Tragedy continued all over this country, where the people mourned the death of their beloved. She still stayed in the house. One year, two years, and three years passed, she still held the hope in her heart. She said he would come. So she planted many roses in the house, and decorated it as a paradise. She had been waiting for his return from her girlhood till she became an old lady.”
“Did he ever return?” Ye and I asked at the same time.
“No. But that hope is like a lamp lighting her every night,” she continued. “These roses are picked from there, every petal of which is a wish. I just don’t understand why you young people throw your love so easily. Like the rose you threw away, which breaks my heart.”
Ye and I lowered our head. Seeing each other’s reddish faces, we held our hands together again.
My face was burning. I began to feel ill at ease for my behavior— spending one kopeck to buy her rose and then throwing it away. I felt I was the black ash in the pure bright world, which would
fly away. I wanted to fly away, but without wind I couldn’t.
I thought out a way to make up for my mistake. “Let’s help her sell the roses,” I suggested to Ye.
We found a piece of wood board on which we wrote a sentence, “Moscow does not believe in tears, but in roses.”
People came one after another to buy the roses.
As the light faded, there were only two roses blooming on our stand.
“This is the will of God, my children,” the old lady said, “Look, the two roses are yours. You deserve them, and you should be together forever, shouldn’t you?”
Holding those two “flames” in our hands, our eyes melted the snowflakes. We walked away from the hardship, step by step, to the sunny morning and the spring with strawberries scattered everywhere.
The old lady led us to a house as beautiful as a paradise, where there were flowerpots with a sea of roses in full bloom spread everywhere.
“Are you the heroine in that story?” Ye and I asked, as if it were a myth.
“No, she died a long time ago. I have been living in this house a while, though. With her last breath, she said that, no matter who lives in this house, please just keep the promise to wait for her love and keep the roses alive.”
The old lady continued, “Every Valentine’s Day, I take some of the roses to sell. I want to save some money to repair this house. I can’t stay long, and that is what I can do.”
At the same time Ye and I thought of living in this house, where the unfailing love grows unceasingly. It thaws everyone’s frozen heart, making every day as warm as spring. In its flame, I believe that I myself will become a tenacious rose, which beats the lies with an oath, and recalls the true love with its own.
(Translation: Qing Run)