Wilted Flowers

Fiction

Her flowers were wilted.
She sat staring at them, sitting in an empty jar looking poor and pathetic drooped over the sides. It was her own fault–the bottom of the jar was empty, all the water dried up by the poor, thirsty daffodils.
She knew if she wanted to, she could pour some water in it and they might just pop up, like celery when you want it crispy again. Or she could throw them away to put them out of their sad little flower misery. But instead, she just sat. And stared.
She had sent the flowers to herself. It was a dumb little game, like when you set your clock 5 minutes fast thinking you’ll trick yourself into believing that’s the real time. She had hoped that if she saw them sitting in the windowsill she would forget who had sent them and think that it was some secret admirer, who was sending flowers right before he declared his undying love. She knew better, however. And now they just made her feel worse.

They were just friends.
She had tried to convince herself that there was something more between them, that the smiles and winks and good conversations meant more than just “I enjoy your company”. But they didn’t. And in spite of the fact that she wanted to see him more and more and spend time with him more and more, he obviously didn’t. It was the cruel irony of “He’s Just Not That Into You”.
When she was 15 she could have convinced herself that maybe he was shy, or perhaps he was just biding his time because he didn’t want to rush into things. But now, with the time piling up like weights, she knew that was foolish. The truth was that if he really was attracted to her, he’d do something about it. The flowers she couldn’t pull her gaze from would be a gift from him, not self-sent. And she wouldn’t even be here alone–they’d be out doing something together, even if it was just sitting on a bench at the park, talking.
Eagerly she had strained, looking, hoping that something was happening between this boy she thought so highly of and herself, and now she realized that all that straining was simply foolishness. And she felt worse than ever before.

Her girlfriends were no help.
They had tried to convince her that she didn’t know if he wasn’t attracted, but that was not at all what she wanted or needed to hear. She didn’t want false hope or anything to feed the romantic, idealistic, daydreaming side of herself. It was as if they were looking at a weather forecast with a 95% chance of precipitation and telling her that she didn’t know it was going to rain. She needed an umbrella, not denial of reality. She knew they had the best of intentions, but it really didn’t help when she needed to face the truth and move on, not dwell on thoughts of what once she had wanted so badly.
She hated not being able to express the sharp pang of disappointment and discomfort that she felt whenever she saw him, but sharing it with these friends felt exploitative and cheap. It felt like their encouraging words were helping to feed something inside of her that, for his sake and hers, needed to die. But holding them in was just as painful. Both the telling and the non-telling simply made it worse.

So she sat. She knew very well that her life didn’t revolve around her emotions, or a boy, or her friends, but right now she was at a loss to know what to do. Eventually she would move on, learn how to simply be friends with him, and remember that time that she had wished that there was something going on, like remembering that time you had the flu and were miserable.
She had to learn to be around his good looks and boyish charm and not care about them as she once had. Being around him had made her so happy; now it just hurt. Her heart was moving into shutdown mode and although she hated it, it seemed necessary, like pulling a splinter out before it gets infected.
But there was part of her that still wished and hoped for the possibility of something–that if she kept a small little corner of her heart open then maybe, in the course of being around each other, love would develop. There was part of her that still wondered if the winks meant anything, clung to the 5% chance of no rain, and that wanted to put water in her daffodil vase.
That part made her want to talk to her friends, that really hoped she would see him even though it hurt, that wanted to send him a letter just in case he liked her too.

Honestly? She didn’t know which one would hurt worse.

Taking a deep breath, she stood up. Fake flowers would be much more practical.

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