She barely remembers the first time she receives flowers, a quiet girl of 6 or 7 standing amidst glaring lights in well worn ballet shoes. The faces of the audience in front of her are a blur; all she knows is the mixed rush of relief and gratitude that months of hard work have culminated into a show worthy of standing ovations and teary eyed smiles from proud parents. The flowers aren't even truly for her, she's only a carrier for them - her ballet teacher the true receiver - but she supposes that for a moment before she passes it on she can pretend the bouquet that covers her face entirely is hers, pretend that she warrants the same pride that everyone else seems to have obtained but her.
The second time is slightly different, more memorable only because she's near death (or dead, there isn't really a distinct difference at that point) on a hospital bed with the light filtering in through the blinds. The doctors can't figure out what's wrong so they inject her body with every sort of painkiller imaginable to the human body. She's pretty sure 12 pills in a day accompanied by an anesthetic drip that slows her system to oblivion has to be illegal somehow, but she can't stay awake for more than half an hour at a time to argue so she takes them in anyway. The flowers are a gift, a showcase of love and concern- although from who she really can't recall - and are a welcome addition to the dull palette of the room. They're the first thing she sees when she wakes up and the last thing she sees before she dozes off, and since she miraculously recovers after a grueling 2 weeks of pain she's sure they're magical somehow. "They must be," her mother says, astounded when she listens to her daughter speak, "I didn't see anything there."
The charm hits by the third time she receives flowers, standing face to face with a boy she's only met once but felt too much with, dim lights casting shadows on their figures. She can't hide the shock on her face as he abruptly thrusts the bouquet into her hands, pastel pinks and purples coming into view. This was never part of the agreement - although really, the entire situation was never actually a choice for either of them - and yet somehow a pleasant surprise. As they tumble into the car, she thanks him and asks his reasons for the unexpected gift although she's pretty sure she already knows. "I just wanted to get it for you." He replies, eyes sparkling with something she can't quite name but knows anyway. The rest of the night continues that way, unreal and perfect. She was right, she thinks, a smile slowly making its way across her face; maybe it'll be okay this time. Maybe it'll finally work.
There isn't a fourth, fifth or sixth time she receives flowers, but she can tell you the number of times she's experienced heartbreak on the tip of her tongue. She receives it in the same way the petals before have fallen through her fingers, giving her something to feel besides numbing shock. Maybe constant loss is similar to the flowers she has held before in some twisted way; aches blooming in the form of bruised hearts, wilting in the dark, temporary, fleeting.
I tried something different, but this still means a lot to me. x