The Flower Man
The Flower Man
Fresh red flowers sprung up from soil, their petals the equivalent of a human’s lips, kissing the air sweetly.
I would walk along the streets for days thinking of him. Missing him. Loving him in the caverns of my mind that barely anyone could see, and barely I could actually understand. I’d have my IPod clenched in my fist, buds thrust into my ears as I shuffled through the playlist he had made for me. For Ellie it had read, when he emailed me the file. We had only begun dating then, and I had felt like the most special girl in the world.
They were beautiful in the florist’s back yard, certain to fetch a handsome price once brought into the store. Each aroma though, seemed different, seemed to thrive and have its own personality.
Falling in love with him was…as cliché as it sounds a complete fairytale. He was my prince, charming, the perfect gentleman as he always hurried around to the other side of his dad’s car to get the door for me. I’d laugh, and fall into his arms as he helped me out before I was spun around so that he could ruffle my hair up without much resistance from me.
Creatures always were attracted to the florist’s back yard, wanting to roam about and take in the party of scents that change so drastically from plant to plant. It was as though one were entering a United Nations meeting, every possible dialect, and skin tone possible there in one room. It was simply amazing, beautiful.
Of course, I’d protest, wailing over how he was going to mess up my hair style, wreck the perfection I’d worked to achieve for him. I don’t care much for perfection or how my hair looks now.
It was strange though; no living human eyes ever saw this garden in its original state. Before the flowers were packed into vases, and lifted onto the florist’s truck as he drove them to his homely little shop.
I’d taken to running now. I had never done that before. It was always something that just got me sweaty, messing up my makeup and hair. I have this irritatingly curly hair that only stays under control if I barely move my head. I was never one of those perfect girls with straight hair that flounces perfectly over their shoulders. I had never really minded though after I met him. He said he liked it.
Such a wide assortment of spades and shovels covered the florist’s yard as well, a variety almost as vast as that of the flower types. Many were caked in dirt, dry or new as they were slung along the barbed wire of the fences or left lazily on the soil.
He had said that he loved everything about me, even the bad things. He said that the bad things that followed me just enhanced the good within me. I guess he was right. If everyone were good all the time, would anybody even realize it, or would it just become the norm? But I do remember that I’d still be sad after he said that. Despite that, he’d walk with me into town, to go to a flower shop.
While this garden never had living eyes of a human to greet it, it was never lacking in the art of being observed. There were always eyes, one pair per flower, glowering up open mouthed from the earth, in a menacing, yet sad sort of way.
Never once did I really understand what was so special about actually going into a flower shop. I had always just reminded him that they sold plenty of flowers in an ACME or Superfresh. He had always insisted that it just wasn’t the same.
Such an assortment of eyes, from cerulean blue to the irises that were just as dark as their weary pupil. They were always watching, always knowing, always there.
He would pull me into the shop and wrap a lazy arm around my shoulder as we walked casually up to the counter. There was always the same slightly bearded, elderly man there, who neglected to wear a name tag, leading us to simply refer to him as the Flower Man.
Skin tones too, were heavily contrasted. Some pale, with gaunt, sunken in cheeks, or some as red as a cherry tomato during its ripest time. Of course, despite the vibrancies of color, all skin was cold. After all, everything did in the end.
With a cocky smile, and a twinkle in his eyes, green, for those wondering, with an oaky brown speckle darting about, he would ask for the freshest most beautiful rose in the store. The Flower Man would always spend awhile looking around, before picking one out and returning with it. Then he would lift it up, rip the stem away, and place it on my ear. “You cheese ball!” I would always snicker, as arrogant as he could teasingly be; he was a romantic at heart.
Grave digging is not always done to retrieve possessions left inside of a grave. Sometimes it’s done to retrieve a person.
I entered the flower shop, memory still thick in my eyes. The Flower Man was there, and turned to nod at me as the jingle of the bells attached to the door sang out in greeting. The Flower Man must have known why my normal companion was not there with me. Everyone did. The entire town had been struck in surprise by the return of his cancer, and at such a young age. Just seventeen…what a way to go, was along the phrases they had murmured.
A little known fact is that people make the most wonderful flower pots. Such large mouths, so moldable after the owner had passed on from the earth. So easily filled with deep, rich soil, and so much room for roots to grow in.
The day before he had…gone…I recalled, he had sent me to pick up a package from the hospital front desk for him. He hadn’t said what it was, and asked me to leave it underneath his bed, and to give it to his mom to open in case anything every happened. I had done as he had said, before sitting down next to him, and taking his hand. Spreading his fingers apart, I wrote in sharpie across his fingers, “Somebody loves you”. In his palm, I scrawled Love, Ellie. Who said he was the only one allowed to be a romantic?
The shovels were used each time a new ‘pot’ came in. To bury a hideous body into the earth, and leave only a soft, babyish head showing.
The day he died, his mother had opened the package, clinging onto the last act of her son. Then she had thrown the box at me angrily. Inside, was a note, written in his lopsided jot that said “please give to Ellie”? I guess it broke her heart that his last gesture was to me, and not to her.
The florist plucked the roses up that morning, with the rising sun, taking special care of the soon to be bouquet that came from the mouth of a bald man with pond scum eyes. He remembered that when he had dug him up, strange black marks covered his hands.
It had been roses, still smelling fresh in my clogged up nose even after a day of hiding under his hospital bed while I sobbed. He knew me so well, knew what I’d want after his death. The saddest thing to me is that on the day of his death, I was smiling .Because of him.
The florist carried this particular batch of flowers inside his shop, setting them down in the backroom, though close to the door.
Finally, after standing in the Flower Man’s shop for three minutes without even approaching the counter, stepped up next to him. “One rose please” I asked, and in my mind, a voice followed after, adding that it had to be the freshest and most beautiful.
The florist delicately chose the most beautiful flower in the vase near the door when it was requested, and exited, handing it out to the customer.
I took it, and paid my fee before walking out the door. His playlist still ringing in my ear as it had come to do, even when I had stopped listening. I lifted the rose, thorns still attached to it, and inhaled deeply.
There had never been, and there never would be, a more beautiful aroma in that customer’s nose as they took in the rose.
So, this was basically a story I thought of about a grave digger who dug people's bodies up and buried them in his garden. He'd leave their heads above ground and put soil in their mouths, and grow flowers that way.
And I needed a subplot, so thats where Ellie and her illfated romance come in.
Please seriously critique, and comment. Thanks.