FLOWERS FOR HER
The clapping on the high street outside roars in my ears. Monotonous sound. The street entertainer, glad for the appraisal, even gladder for the sake of small change, has inevitably survived his death-defying stunt.
I shrug through the unwelcome noise like water off my shoulders. The back of the shop is my destination. Flowers turn to smile at me knowingly as I approach them. A sky of pink above the tangled green underbelly of stems and thorns. I run my hand over the top of them. They bend slightly through air-pressure alone. I did not touch them. I wouldn't want to hurt them.
The young woman behind the counter is trying not to make it obvious that she recognises me. She's excited. Her fingers are itching to phone her friends and relay her current, enviable situation. She is of a similar age to me. I combat the blush that threatens my pale cheeks as I realise how many of her adolescent dreams I must have starred in. Once upon a time.
But I only belong to one woman. And I am here to buy her flowers.
I turn my attention back, and frown lightly. Pink was never really her colour. I always have this problem when I attempt to buy her flowers. I can never find a suitable bloom and end up opting for chocolates instead. But this time it is imperative. I must stick it out.
My attention is again diverted as the strip light over my head flickers, threatening to die. The ends of the tube are already paling. Whatever happened to the days where you could buy enchanting potted plants from charming candy striped stores? Where the merchandise in question was outside on the street, in the sunlight, adding colour to every passer-by's day? Stuck here in linear rows under the harsh flashing light makes everything seem so artificial.
I'm going to be late. And that just won't do. I still have to rush back to the house and change into my suit. Somehow I don't think scruffy jeans and a tee-shirt with dried noodles stuck to one side will be acceptable.
When in doubt, buy roses. Normally, one long-stemmed thornless red rose would suffice, but today is special after all. I shell out for two dozen. My wallet doesn't even whimper, even with this additional expense heaped upon how much organising today's event cost me. I really love her.
The cashier's eyes catch mine as she unfolds the transparent wrapping. Inquisitive. Seductive. Slightly disappointed. I make a gesture to one of the five bows she holds for my inspection. It's pale blue. It contrasts strongly with the blood red of the roses. It's a contrast few people would appreciate. To my eyes it's gentleness against passion. Perfect for her.
Back in my own territory. I lean against the wall, feeling the cool sturdiness against my bare back, calming my nerves as I do up the fly of the trousers of my expensive suit. Designer. Special occasions only. She says black is definitely my colour.
In my car. It's red. It's a classic. Every successful male has to have a shiny red car with no top. The wind ruffles the plastic wrapping of the bouquet. It rasps against the leather of the empty seat I have thrown it on. I watch the road. I rehearse what I want to say.
The most important thing in my life.
The clouds break as I step out of the car, flowers dangling at my thigh. The sun shines like a spotlight, almost favourably.
It suddenly hits me, as I walk through the gates It's as if I'm moving into an entirely different state of mind. I've been on auto-pilot. I don't know how long. Emotion engulfs me. The trees block out the sudden sun. Light dapples on the ground, dancing before my eyes as I watch my shiny black shoes. I will never be ready for this.
I arrive at my destination. All eyes turn to me. All clones. Identical black. I fit right in.
Despite the abrupt sunlight, the cemetery is bleak. Aren't they always supposed to be? Endless monochrome of black, splashed with white burnished stones. The traditional red roses are cradled in my arms. The only colour I can see. My last gift to her.
Nyeh sorry about that. Was trying to see if I could write in the very weird and wonderful style of Margaret Atwood, who I am studying in English at the moment. Different from my usual style. What dya think?
Oh, and Kaz is now an adult. Point and cackle.