Lily's Magnolia

There was no more room for Lily to stand by her tree


Lily's Magnolia
by Azarin Sadegh

Lily Flower had never worked in her life.

She was the last member of Flower family, well-known in Hustonville, Tennessee. At ten, her parents called her their little genius. She could sing the most difficult tunes and play the most complex songs on the piano.

At sixteen she dreamed of being a famous actress, but her parents died in a car accident and she inherited their fortune at twenty-four. Once the time of her grieving was over, she sold everything, left her hometown and moved to New York.

She lived in a luxury house at Soho for the first six years, but the day she realized nobody had ever recognized her talents - except for her parents- she moved to this apartment building.

Santa Fe Apartments, 43210 Stone Ave.

“No pets allowed”. The concierge told her on the first day she moved in. But she didn’t care. Young and hopeful, “I’m going to get married,” she had thought. “Who needs a pet?”

Twenty-five years had passed, but the management hadn’t changed their mind.

Lily had moved from the third floor to the sixth and then to the forth. Suite 43 East. This one was the smallest. Her kitchen was as large as her old refrigerator. So she sold it. Her couch filled half of her salon. The old TV was too big to fit in. She sold it too.

She spent most of her time in her bedroom. It had a balcony and faced a wall.

She lived a tedious life.

Lily Flower knew everyone in the 4th floor. Even if all her neighbors called her with her last name, she always hoped one day they would remember her as Lily.

She had so many friends, but the day she turned fifty, she knew her life was going to be glorious, only if she had owned a dog, or even a fish.

Something forbidden.

Something impossible.

One day, when the boredom of existence engorged her dreams, she went to the library and paced through the aisles aimlessly. At the end of the 19th century Literature books, as she skipped modern Philosophy, she reached the Botanic section. Out of breath, almost randomly, she grabbed a book.

It was about Magnolias.

Leafing through the colorful pictures of Magnolias, planted in green gardens with rich soils, blossomed on spring days of childhood – places she had forgotten about their existence, almost like a foreign land she wasn’t aware of its name- dizziness wrapped her old body with a rare perfume. This desire brought tears to her eyes, tears of happiness.

It was the moment Lily Flower decided to grow her own magnolia.

Everyone told her it wasn’t possible for Magnolias to survive in such a small space, in such a tiny vase, in such a dark place.

Lily remembered how she used to be stubborn.

She watered the soil and learned about fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. She studied the movement of sun and moon, and fought with the effect of killer winds on plants. She dreamed of drought and of storms. She battled with seasons and with time.

As her magnolia surpassed the expectations, and rose timidly out of the soil that represented pain and perseverance, Lily’s closet friends from Santa Fe Apartments turned into acquaintances.

“It wouldn’t have survived without me,” she liked to brag.

Her view from the bedroom transformed from the obscurity of grayness to a vivid green and purple - authentic and embryonic- similar to the color of lands she had abandoned. She was embraced by this reminiscence, exulted by this new being, cherished by plant’s livelihood.

“It’s just my Magnolia that keeps me alive,” she told a stranger on the phone.

Magnolia grew tall and turned into a tree. Its flowers hung over the neighboring terraces and its leaves hid the facing wall. Birds nested inside its abundance and hungry snails crawled over its blooming fruits. Its large trunk filled the whole balcony and its branches reached the skies beyond Lily’s view.

There was no more room for Lily to stand by her tree.

No more room to reach its roots.

The last thing I know, Lily Flower never left her apartment afterwards.


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Azarin Sadegh

Thanks Zion! Thanks Miny!

by Azarin Sadegh on

Dear Zion,

You're absolutely right! I think the Promised Land by definition is unattainable…it’s almost like our perception of our own greatest achievement; it always happens in the future and it’s never here, never now.

Thanks a lot for your evocative comment!

Dear Miny,

After reading your comment, I read it a second times…wow! What can I say? I feel so humbled by your lovely note. Thank you!

Btw, I would love to read the poem you were talking about. I love good poetry and I think the poetry is the base of any good prose (not only because of its economy of words, but also by its rhythm and its music).

Thanks again, Azarin


Absolute beauty!

by Miny (not verified) on

Hey Azarin...its such a beautiful story..more nice is to know that there are people like you in the world who can think so was soothing..soulful...i loved it!

P.S. ...and you know Lily reminds me of a which i guess there were two deities who were having differences regarding which could be the most beautiful flower in the world...One Goddess said its rose and the other Goddess goes its Lotus...but then when they sit around and discuss in detail..they come to conclusion that infact it is neither rose nor lotus it is Lily...You reminded me of it...i dont remember the title of the poem or the author but gist was there in mind...if i find i might share with you...


Very beautiful

by Zion on

Enjoyed it as always.

There was no more room for Lily to stand by her tree.

Funny how you never get to see what comes of your greatest achievements. You never get to enter your promised land.

Azarin Sadegh

Dear Irandokht, Dear Feshangi,

by Azarin Sadegh on

Thank you so much for your lovely comments!

Actually I think you two should talk to each other more often! I find Feshangi's note like the perfect answer to Irandokht's fear of passion!

For me a life without passion is not a life. My real fear is this gray life that Feshangi talks about...

Cheers, Azarin


Thank you

by Feshangi on

For another great story.

So many of us meander through life purposelessly, living the day to the night and sleep the night to only wake up and live another grey day.

Only if we could find our magnolia to give our lives color and light the path we wish to travel.




Azarin jan you got me thinking...

by IRANdokht on

I believe this is exactly why I am so noncommittal to any activities or hobbies!  (and then some) ;-)

I have seen people pick up different sports, get into photography, electronics or even watching movies and immerse themselves into it. It's scary to me to allow something from the outside take over your time, your freedom, your space and even your life!

I mean it's great to have a passion, but to lose yourself in something doesn't sound too attractive to me. It's just like the Magnolia that starts out making your life beautiful and if it gets out of hand, it can take over your whole life.

Nicely done!  loved reading the piece. 


Azarin Sadegh

Excellent point my dear Azadeh!

by Azarin Sadegh on

As I read your assessment of my story, I realized how unconsciously I have written a story about myself.

Lily Flower is an ordinary person living a tedious life. She’s destined to carry her own failures (because whatever we do without feeling any joy about doing it, is our failure...even if we have successful careers in those areas!).

Until one day she discovers a hidden passion she had forgotten its existence.

The Magnolia represents my passion for writing and the balcony with a view is the symbol of simple pleasures of an ordinary life. Once the Magnolia occupies the whole space of her balcony, overshadowing everything else, she overcome her destiny...

But my intent for the first section of the story was to describe a boring, and really dull life!

Now I totally agree with you, that to clarify this apparent ordinariness (and so to stress the contrast between these two lives), maybe I had to add something extraordinary even in this first period!

Excellent point! Between us, I wrote the second section first, then added Lily's back story (pretty hastily, I have to confess!) 

Thank you so much Azadeh Jan for your excellent review! You're the best!


Azadeh Azad

Dearest Azarin

by Azadeh Azad on

While reading the first half of this fiction, I cringed (!), until I got to the paragraph that begins with "One day, when the boredom of existence engorged her dreams..." and that introduces Magnolia to the reader. I began feeling much better and loved the rest of the story very much.

In the first 316 words of the story, i.e., before the above mentioned paragraph, Lily flower is all over the place and time. There doesn't seem to be any "file conducteur", cohesion, obvious meaning or symbolism for her "erratic" behaviours. The first part doesn't seem necessary for understanding the rest of the story - or so it appears to me as a reader.

However, the second part (composed of 378 words, enough for a separate short story) is very focused, condensed, attractive and very meaningful, all by itself. I don't see any reason why the first part that confuses the reader should remain, unless you have an explanation for that.

So, the second part: an impressive surrealistic story that sticks to the mind like honey, for a long time! :-)



Azarin Sadegh

My disclaimer!

by Azarin Sadegh on

This story is fiction, pure fiction!

Any resemblance with real people I might know is pure coincidence. Plus, there's no such a city as Hustonville, Tennessee, or even if it exists it's still another coincidence!

I just realized that there might be a resemblance between this story and a fairy tale: Jack and the bean-stalk! Only my Lily is going to fight the monster/Deev without having to climb the tree.