The Communion of the Crocus – E. A. Akindele (College)

The snow had stopped falling. In the 3am fugue of late winter, Terrence creaked open the stiffened back door of BoxSmart Appliances and shivered slightly when the door slammed shut. It was nearly pitch-black in the moonless alleyway, and he walked briskly towards the main road, away from his workplace and the hours of shutting, scanning and heaving boxes, alone.
The main strip of untouched street glistened with faded neon and dim streetlights. In the buildings and apartment windows overhead, life condensed to boxes of light coming on, then shutting off.
After a few blocks of trudging through the snow and forlorn lights, Terrence turned into another alleyway with his head down and with his eyes adjusting slowly to the darkness.
He was halfway through the alleyway when he saw it: a lone track of footsteps that flowed from someone’s backyard into a left turn where the alleyway diverged, along a path Terrence had never before been.
He paused for a moment, noting that there were no footsteps trailing back to the backyard. Then he continued, this time along the path mapped by the previous traveler of uncharted snow.
At the end of the trail, there was a man, crouched, with his back to Terrence. Both of them were still for a while. Then the man looked back at Terrence, smiled with tired eyes, and turned back to what had captured his attention, shuffling to the side so that Terrence could see.
It was a snow-covered crocus, erecting from the snow like a fistful of sunflowers punching through pavement.
Terrence stepped forward tentatively then crouched in silence, in awe, observing the flower in its amethyst beauty, the silver aura of its snow-tipped edges.
In the corner of an alleyway, in a single place, nearly unseen and unattended to, Terrence and the man shared that perfect moment, that infinite light of life becoming life. And in that space between night and morning, within the darkness that surrounded them in that alley, a congregation bloomed, a liminal conflagration, that silent celebration—
The communion of the crocus.

Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Fleur 2020-01 – Crocus
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