I call this icky, gratutious nighttime fuction. What? fiction.
But not as cute. But she didn’t want it to be any sort of love, no sir. Not a love of convenience, colored with conversations about effects of the heavy rain. Not the sort of love where the lover took off running with the love, and forgot her all together. She wanted to be loved for the things that she made.
And what she made were small replicas of flowers out of un-flowerish things. The daffodil was molded from a piece of burrito-ed tin foil and looked real as day. The nosegay was arranged with old dryer lint, and plumped by her ambitious fingers. The roses were crafted out of market bags and carefully dried with glue, sometimes creased by her late-night tears. The violets were made of worn pieces of someone’s favorite sweater.
She was damn mildly good at what she did. Respected, even. There were some better than her, but she was better than some, and this was the reason she could get up in the morning. Each day she set up her table and arranged the flowers like a quaint village of her thoughts. Wonderbread daisies bordered the table while the lollipop Lillies huddled in front. People passed by, and she waited.
As the occasional passer-by stopped to finger one of her thoughts, she would try and re-think it: that Carnation was two weeks ago, a Wednesday. I was feeling stuck. Why can’t a carnation be blue? Why must we always do the same sad thing, over and over? This Carnation will be blue, and like it.
The passer-by would put the thing down, smiling the uncomfortable side grin of a person Not Wishing to Part with their Money; or hand her two dollars, wet from their pocket. The person would then take the precious thing to a place where it would probably be flippantly consumed by someone’s dog or child.
So she waited and starred at her creations, counting the reasons that someone could one day fall in love her. They ranged from the freckle on her lower back to the maddening power of her blueberry pancakes, even when burnt. The way she tended to dance around in her underwear when no one was watching, releasing all the joy she had collected in the past nine days back into the universe.
It was the one moment when she forgot she was waiting. There was the silliest goddamn itch in the world and it was happening all over her ankle; she was bent down to scratch it. Her face was like a cherub at summer camp, scrunched and half-smiling and frustrated.
When she finally looked over, he had finished setting his table up. He was grand, but like a giant little boy who’d popped his last water balloon. This blue balloon was in fact most likely the same color of his eyes.
Little did they know that they both felt slightly homeless; like they had no place to put their shoes.
He sat patiently behind his table, waiting for someone to fall in love with him. He was more forward than she. He smiled at the passer-by’s, scooting forward his home-made sign, sharpied, FREE YOUR MIND.
From next door, she quietly admired his table for it’s gaul, audacity and charm. It was neatly, conspicuously arranged with food items in uncommon containers. The waffles sat tiredly in shoes. The hot dogs in tube socks. The marmalade in tin buckets. The ham in a sleeping blender. The nuts perched dilligently in a winter glove.
Her heart surge slightly as she noticed each item and she put one finger to the corner of her mouth to chew it. Then, a customer.
What the heck is this?
Um – it’s a flower. It’s a Chrysanthemum, actually.
What the hell is it made out of?
The customer re-placed her be-labored thought, the labor of her fingers back onto the table and hurried off to where. She scooted it three inches back to the left, dancing with the Real Butter- buttercup, where it belonged. And when she looked up – he was looking.
He stood up from his table and walked towards hers. This was bold, and both knew it. She put her hands between her knees, pressing her skirt down, hunching her shoulders, hoping that in some world, with some sort of God, this was somewhat adorable and noteworthy. Her heart raced. Is it you? She quickly began to name their children after flowers.
He stood in front of her table. With two perfect fingers (she decided) he picked up the tulip she had made from her favorite shoelaces, the last time she felt nostalgic, which was always. He smiled at it, and then at all of her creations, and then at her.
I like this, he said.
She didn’t know what else to say except is it you? So she said it. He nodded. They pushed their tables together.