On a break from our usual schedule, this short story is dedicated to all our departed loved ones, and especially my father.
* * *
Composing myself carefully, I walked up to her and gave her the flowers.
“I love you,” I declared bravely, dropping to one knee and proffering the bundle of buds. I thought she would know what to do next, so I said no more, and awaited her response.
“Thank you,” she stammered weakly, looking abashedly at her friends as if to say, “I had nothing to do with this.”
“Why,” she began, then stopped to clear her throat, “what happened to them?”
“I’m sorry?” was my reply, for now I was truly perplexed. This was nothing like what I had expected.
“The flowers,” she explained awkwardly, “they’re half wilted.”
I brightened then, for I thought this must explain her reaction, and once I cleared up the misunderstanding, we could get back on track.
“I had to complete the bouquet,” I explained, “the beauty of life wouldn’t be complete without the beauty of death. If death weren’t beautiful,” I laughed, “we would all be in very big trouble!”
I had honestly thought this would win her over. However, my mirthful grin soon faded under her blank stare.
“Thank you,” she said again, more calm this time, and distant. I had lost her.
She turned then, and walked away, followed silently by her friends.
I was heartbroken, of course. It’s a good thing rejection is beautiful, too. Otherwise, we would all be in very big trouble.
And do you know something else? I think she kept those flowers.