(from the story: “If Your Father Doesn’t Love You”)
“If you’re a girl and your father doesn’t love you, what man will?
I DIDN’T WANT TO write about my father. He wounded me with a sharp edged sword called criticism that severed my heart and raped my ego. I hated him because I thought he didn’t love me. I didn’t want to write about him because I thought the pain would kill me, the way looking into a solar eclipse without sunglasses would blind me. Yet I must look and I must write or I will never be free to love myself.
(from the story: “The Final Gift of Love”)
“All we have is love. Love is all there is.”
(from the title story: “White Rose”)
“HE LED ME DOWN the steps to the sandy Venice Beach. I wore a bikini and no shoes. He liked me to look free and not carry anything, just hold his hand. I would go anywhere with this man. The sun warmed my tan skin and the pounding of the surf was like my heartbeat: happy and steady and strong.
A lone girl strolling in the sand turned to look at us, and in her eyes, I saw the me that longed, was lonely, felt desolate; the look she wore on her face was a look I recognized. It was envy. And I wanted to turn to her and scream that in just a moment I would be her again. And that the bliss was fleeting and would surely be gone. I wanted to cry out: “No, you don’t see this the way it really is…don’t imagine that I have something you don’t. It’s all an illusion. There is no safety.” I wanted to tell her I was alone too, that I knew abandonment, and desolation, and that this very man who looked on me now with love would no doubt leave me again, this man who held my hand so tightly would soon be gone. I wanted to tell her that this was just a moment in time. I am you, I thought. But I didn’t tell. I held onto my moment in the sun.’
I LOST HIM SLOWLY, gradually, in agony and grief. My worst fear was that he would leave me. He told me in a thousand ways that he would never stay with me. I didn’t believe him.