Flora or Flower?
Marlene was enjoying a sunny day out. The sky was a stunning blue with clouds so white they might just been bleached. The sun let free the perfect amount of warmth, the air was so fresh and clean it was as if you didn’t even need to breathe and it just went inside you.
It, was so nice out in fact, that even Julien had decided to nothing but relax that day. At the moment, Marlene was watering her rose bush. She had planted it from some seeds Alice had left lying around after the Zoo Beautification Plan. With all of the tender care that Marlene had given to it, the rose bush now had a few shy buds peeking out and, at the very center, a big rose blossom that glowed a vivid red. Marlene sat on the soft grass and gazed at her flower. It was so beautiful that she felt that she could look at it all day.
Marlene turned around, surprised to see Kowalski standing by her pond.
“A little ‘can I come in?’ would be appreciated.” said Marlene crossing her arms.
“Sorry Marlene,” replied Kowalski sheepishly, “I just came by to ask you a few questions.”
“Questions? Don’t you guys ever take a break?” Marlene beckoned around her, “look about you, it’s an amazing day out.”
Kowalski shuffles uneasily.
“Actually, Skipper allowed us to have the day off today.”
Marlene raises an eyebrow.
“Then why are you going to ask me questions?”
“It’s routine.” replies Kowalski taking out his clipboard, “So, have you seen any suspicious activity that you would like to report?” Marlene stares warily.
“Hmm…” says Kowalski writing that down, “so then have you-” Marlene cuts him off.
“Kowalski, don’t you ever just, you know, relax?”
“Relax?” asks Kowalski confused.
“Yeah,” replies Marlene, “like not training, or going on missions, or analyzing things.”
“Well…” says Kowalski thinking, “I did figure out a new way to solve the Pythagorean theorem yesterday.”
“Isn’t that what you meant?” asks Kowalski cocking his head to the side.
“No.” responds Marlene. “Here,” she takes his flipper and leads him to her rose, “Look at that, doesn’t it just make you smile?”
Kowalski stares at the flower. He takes out his clipboard and writes something down.
“What are you doing?” asks Marlene.
“Analyzing this amazing species of flora. With a few adjustments I think that I could make it grow to 10 times its size.”
Marlene looks at him incredulously.
“All right, forget any analysis, in fact-” she takes the clipboard from Kowalski and throws it to the side. “Take a really good look at that flower. See what a nice shade of red it is?”
“That’s just one of the many adaptations made in order to draw insects.” Kowalski replies.
“Okay, well” she takes a petal from it, “feel how smooth this is, doesn’t it just feel good?”
Kowalski runs his flipper down the petal.
“Now that you mention it, it does have a velvety texture to it.”
“Yes!” exclaims Marlene, feeling that she was finally making some progress, “and here,” she draws the rose closer to him, “see how good it smells?”
Kowalski takes a hesitant sniff of the rose. His face changes as he smells the sweet scent, feeling the fragrance envelop him.
He breathes in, a bit more profoundly this time wanting to catch as much of the smell as possible.
“That is actually quite pleasurable.” He smiles, gazing at the flower with a different perception.
“Yeah.” Says Marlene sitting down on the grass again. Kowalski sits besides her meditative.
“What do you think of when you see a rose?” asks Marlene turning to him.
Kowalski looks at it. It was so vivid, so gentle, and nice. For the first time, no calculations or urge to write down things ran through his mind. He doubted whether writing down all the calculations in the world would give him the answer to what Marlene had just asked him.
“Life.” He replies.
Marlene smiles; Kowalski had finally gotten it.