Clarity With White Flowers – by Mary A Mayo (College)

Despite her sweet appearance, she never did seem to care much for flowers. Not to my knowledge anyway. Yet whenever we were surrounded by colourful bouquets on sale I couldn’t help the fidget to pick one up for her, something delicate and affectionate to suit her. Regularly she dismissed the idea, be it allergies or to save money, how she didn’t have a place to put them and that she didn’t need them to know how I felt. This belief in her so sound and for so long that the startling feeling of betrayal over something so trivial wouldn’t leave me at the slimmest contrary evidence.
The wonders of the internet and nosy friends had turned up an old abandoned profile of hers, not a speck of jealousy seeing her cuddling up with ex-partners, happy and beautiful in ways I never knew her, but instead I had my own wonderful version of her now. But surrounded by pretty flowers being showed off with pride and gratitude, celebrated in her hands, on her mantel and in her hair caused a stupidly hurtful ache in my chest.
Oddly this reduced me to plotting the purchase of a bouquet to challenge her. The utterly ridiculous response I couldn’t restrain. Any results doomed me into guilt, the only sane moment was the bubbling self-loathing as I waited outside her door, preparing for the pettiest ambush with a small but carefully made bouquet accented with fine baby’s breath as sweet as her.
Regrets mounted every moment of the following exchange; her surprised eyes, her confused but polite smile and a tepid thank you. I had the need and the gall to ask my question, thinking things couldn’t get worse. In reply after a cold pause she only told me how much she loved them and how much the flowers meant that I would then mean to her, that silly association game romantically bestowed on her since girlhood having burned her before – so she avoided it. Tainted white flowers far too special to her binding me silent to my treacherous gift.
Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Nutshell Narratives 2019-03
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