Fiction: ‘Dust and Cut Flowers’

55 - Dust and Cut Flowers

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Like dust floating through a stream of sunlight. Like a small chip in the paint that resembles a tiny elephant. Like a scrap of that beloved floral pattern on an old sundress discarded to the rags basket in the laundry.

I see these relics everywhere.

Reminders of those tiny beautiful things.

There’s an infinite sadness in them. A sweet hopelessness. It’s the same feeling I get when I buy cut flowers. They were never meant to last. I wish I was a cut flower because then I would never be more beautiful, more full of life, more doomed than I am right now. But I passed that age of perfection many decades ago. Old age is like a wilted flower.

Recently I made a decision.

I decided to let go of everything.

I didn’t know that meant I would float down into an abyss like a speck of dust. I wonder if I glimmered for just a moment. Was anyone even there to see? It doesn’t matter. I sat on the steps of the town square wearing my old white gown and veil like a Dickens character brought to life, and watched my life play out over and over again in an endless loop.

Some people stopped to look, while others kept going.

Over time I let go and fell into passive observation, so that I didn’t even notice when I fell away from this world and into the next.

My last thoughts were not of tears and laughter.

They lingered on the sweet familiar things that I’ll miss the most, like dust and cut flowers.

***

A young man, handsome and full of strength. His arm is wrapped around the waist of a young lady with a crimson dress and smooth skin. They stop before the famous statue of the old crone.

Her stony skin is pitted from the sun and the rain. There are bunches of cut flowers lying at her feet, a gift from the local townsfolk who seem to believe she is special somehow.

‘She’s so ugly!’ he exclaims. ‘Why would they put her in the middle of the square where everyone can see?’

‘I don’t know,’ she replies. ‘But I think she’s beautiful.’

He laughs and looks at her incredulously. ‘Why?’

‘Look at her eyes. They’re so…so sad. Do you see how she looks out at the world? I wonder what she was thinking when the sculptor made her.’

‘Don’t be silly, Annabelle. She’s a statue! Her eyes can’t see – they’re nothing but stone.’

She shrugs, her eyes lingering on the old lady’s for just a moment longer, and then they walk off arm in arm without a second thought to the old woman.

 ~ Ekaterina

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