We’re in the local grocery store, a chain, and I want flowers. I always want flowers but I don’t know how to love them in a way that keeps them alive so I generally admire them before buying boxed wine and mac and cheese. I’ve stopped us in front of the display and Dylan tries to maneuver me away from the carnations, to continue our desperate search for eggnog. This is the fourth store we’ve been through tonight. This one has employed a consulting florist. In the milk section, Dylan explains that in order for me to sit with the florist I need to have an event that warrants flowers. I ask what that might be. He’s about to turn 25, a quarter of a fucking century, and would he like flowers? He says no, but also, weddings, funerals, deaths, anniversaries, things that matter; and no, I shouldn’t just go see the consultant because it’s a Tuesday and I’m a little sad.
Because I haven’t told him, he doesn’t know that in my back pocket and also in the pit of my stomach is an event. I’m not sure whether it’s worthy of a consulting florist, particularly this one in the Market 32, but I wonder if this is the type of anniversary that makes a special arrangement or two acceptable. The most feral part of me, what Dylan likes to call my “unhinged id,” wants to make an appointment. Rather, I want to have already made it, because the anniversary is now, and it’s nine o’clock and why on earth would I get flowers for the day or week after? That’d be ridiculous. I want to sit down and, after a few necessary pleasantries like how are you, stare this poor florist in the face and tell them I was raped and politely request their services for the anniversary.
I could share my tragedy more poetically or tactfully and say that it’s the date of the first time I was removed from my body and placed somewhere else, or that it’s the exact date of the first time that I learned how to become an unmade bed with newly uglied sheets and the last time I felt like this body was mine. Would it make a difference if I said that I was sexually assaulted? Would the bouquet be more vague, less brutally lovely; would people ask more questions? I’d ask for flowers that mourn me while I place them in the vase or hand them out on the street, giving away my catastrophe. Maybe I’d apologize as I hand them to people, just in case something about me follows them. My new resolution is, to avoid visiting the consulting florist until I have a reason that’s less unsettling. Maybe I’ll go because it’s a Tuesday and I am a little sad.
studies Creative Writing at the University of Maine, Farmington. Her writing has
appeared in littledeathlit, Sandy River Review and Royal Rose,