It was my birthday onthe twentieth of November, so...yeah. This story seemed to fit. I own nothing.

-

Lilies

-

I bought a single wrapped lily yesterday; that was all the flower shop had. Had I remembered to buy flowers beforehand, I would've preordered a bouquet instead. It would've been filled with bright yellow daffodils—the ones she used to plant every summer.

You must wonder why I didn't give up and move on to another flower shop. I'd love to say that the lone lily slightly wilting on the bare shelf reminded me of the harshness of life and sparked a sense of courage and determination in me. No, the reason was not as sentimental as I hoped for. I simply ran short of money. A bouquet of daffodils, regardless of location, would've cost far more than what I had, so when the kind receptionist offered a small discount for being the last customer, I immediately agreed. She even tied a pink ribbon around the delicate tissue paper holding the dying flower together, smiling apologetically.

"Is this for your girlfriend?" she asked softly, fingering the waxy coating of the petals.

"No…not really," I replied. She nodded, as if understanding, and left it at that.

-

My hometown has scarcely changed. Year after year, fewer people recognize me, and year after year, I insist on delivering the same present. Beyond the bulk of the town, there resides a secluded area behind an abandoned house. A cold, gray block of stone quietly sits in the midst of rampaging weeds.

There are no more signs of flowers. There are no signs of life.

"I'm back," I announced. A vague, eerie aura radiated from her grave, reminding me just how much I wanted to get out of there. "I er...I brought flowers." I shrugged helplessly, setting down the lily. I never expected a response, but it was as if the place alone was silently reprimanding me for such feeble presentation. Was it even possible to feel anger towards the unseen?

"Look, the flower lady had none left. I did the best I can." I mindlessly kicked the ground, spraying dirt on her grave. "And…I have a meeting today. I'm an important official at the Pokémon League, you know," I said, "and I have a pretty high rank. Not many get them these days."

What cold, cold silence. I averted my eyes toward the sky, wishing I could be like one of those birds that did nothing but lazily fly around the whole day…

"So…did I tell you about our divorce?" I hesitated. "That was last year, though. Did I tell you I'm with another girl now? She's really pretty…I think you would've liked her. Not as violent, let's say," I chuckled. "But she likes me and I…I like her, too." This was a downright lie and I knew it, but why did it matter anyhow? No one was listening.

"I'm marrying her, you know. Brock's doing the catering. Speaking of Brock, he's settled down now. Finally found a girl." This was, again, a lie. He never married. "It's funny, isn't it? You probably don't know this, but he used to chase after them all the time." But of course she knew. "It was really funny, too. Usually Max had to drag him away, but before that, it was always Misty…" I sighed at the mention of her name. There were some memories best left forgotten, best left unsaid.

"Oh, speaking of Max, he's taken after Norman. He's a pretty hard gym leader. I lost to him, once. Can you believe it? And Norman is…doing okay. He's retired happily," I lied again. Norman died a few months ago. "About May, she's a coordinator. A good one, actually. I've seen her in contests, although she was devastated when her Beautifly…left…her…" I stopped. "But she caught another Wurmple and hopes to raise it into a Beautifly. She claims it'll be better than her old one. May's so ambitious, isn't she? And the Wurmple is really cute," I laugh. "It..It'll crawl on your pants when you least expect it and has the most curious eyes…"

I kicked at the ground again, trailing my eyes towards the gravestone with the single lily safely tucked in the bottom, nearly immersed in weed. I smiled.

"So…everyone's happy. Everyone's doing just fine. I don't think you should worry anymore, wherever you are. As you can see, we're all content here." I paused briefly. "I just want you to know I have a life. I'm…I'm an adult. Hard to believe, isn't it?" I asked, laughing lightly. "So...I don't think I'll be coming back here next year. You know, I have lots of things to do, very busy…"

I bent down, and out of an oddity of compassion, touched the lily one last time. It'd die and rot here, inevitably mixing into the earth, hopefully reaching places where I wouldn't be going for a while.

"Happy Birthday, mom," I told her, and quietly left.