We learnt about you in school, the largest flower in the world- Rafflesia. Without a stem or leaves or roots you are a botanical miracle, albeit a smelly one. Being a parasite can do that to anyone right?

Last night I dreamt about you. It was the strangest thing, a picture from a twenty year old text book shelved in some nook of my mind materialized in my subconscious; giant velvety burgundy petals flecked with cream spots, a yellow dome at the centre with a gaping oculus that took me back to the time I visited Rome and stood in the Pantheon, tapering spokes within that stood aroused and awaiting to pierce. So fascinated was I by your magnificence that I could almost overlook the stench of rotting flesh. Like decaying arms and organs. It seems your beauty isn’t enough, you need to survive. Without the smell, the flies won’t come, and your legacy will not be preserved.

I waited with you for the days that held your bloom. By the third day the signs began. You were done with the world and curling up but unlike other flowers that wither gently and give one time to bid a proper farewell, you shriveled away all too quickly, becoming one with the soil and creepers. It was then that I realized I was in a dark forest, swathed in sunlight and oxygen and alarming silence.

The alarm wakes me up.