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Flower Boy

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There wasn't a profusion of blood, just a droplet that clung to his skin for a brief moment before succumbing to the forces of gravity. Jack cussed as he dropped the long stemmed red rose he had been handling before he was pricked. Its deep crimson hue matched the drop of his blood perfectly which had now pooled on the counter in front of him. A bead of sweat rolled languidly down his spine, creating a strange sensation. The humidity in the back of the flower shop had become unbearable as May rolled around, in the Lone Star State.

Tearing off his green apron he used his shoulder to open the swinging door that led to the front of his mother's shop. It was a quaint little building situated along the main road that passed through his small town. Through the broad glass windows in the front of the shop Jack could see a few middle school girls milling around in their short shorts and skimpy tank tops; their tongues occupied by the latest gossip and two scoops of vanilla ice cream from Jimmy's ice cream parlor. Watching them filled Jack with a sense of revulsion, a deeply rooted feeling that had come from the malicious rejection of so many girls that had looked just like them, and were now Varsity cheerleaders. He tried to blend into the shadows at the back of the store, but his pallid complexion prevented him from doing so effectively. His jet black hair was greasy from the heat in the back room, and it hung unimportantly just above his plain green eyes.

Jack wasn't necessarily an unattractive being, but he certainly wasn't like the other boys in his town. He was pale and lanky, which was strange to see amid all of the tanned and toned jocks that roamed the halls of his high school. If you asked anyone about him, they would most likely point you in the direction of the flower shop. It was as if his mother's business had become his identity.

The girls on the street moved on, and Jack felt some of the tension in his shoulders ease. In a few years those same girls would be coming in to ask him to make the perfect corsage and boutonnière to match their prom dresses. The front of the shop was quiet, and colorless. Sterile white tile floors reflected the severe florescent bulbs above him. The hum of the two large refrigerators calmed him; it reminded him of the countless days he spent sitting under the desk playing with his toys while his mother worked. Those were the same days that all the other boys were getting buff and tan while they worked out in the fields or played football with their fathers. Jack had spent those days in a hygienic white room staring at his mother's Birkenstocks as his father drove farther and farther away from Texas.

Jack had felt all of his potential slip away the moment his father's Camaro rolled down the driveway. The tears had burned his cheeks and soaked his pillowcase; they left him empty and dry. Even now as the sweat gathered above his brow he felt completely vapid; lifeless.

Standing in his asylum, Jack contemplated the scenery of his adolescence. Most of his memories took place in this room, this sickeningly white room that was as confined as the rooms in the psyche ward at the county hospital. His palms began to sweat and his mind began to race as he came to the realization that it was not his father's departure that had left him completely numb. It was the protection of his mother, the way she shielded him from the world by hiding him away in the flower shop. He understood now that the tears that had streaked down his cheeks had seared a hole in his mother's heart. His tears had been a sign of her failure as a mother and a wife, and if she could keep him from crying she could remain sane.

Jack's stomach churned as his eyes darted around the walls of the shop, which seemed to be closing in on him, constricting his ability to breath. He stumbled into the swinging door and ran through the back room, escaping to the real world. He threw open the door and let the intense spring sun splash his face with warm, cancerous rays. The smell of hot asphalt mixed with gasoline and flooded his nostrils. He let out a relieved sigh.


Jack turned back to the brick building that had caged him for almost thirteen years. The building seemed to stare back at him, and taunt him like all the girls and boys in his third grade class had done when they found out he was the 'flower boy'. The sound of their high pitched teasing made his blood boil beneath the pastel blue sky. His hands rummaged in the pockets of his jeans before his fingers touched the cool metal of his lighter. He ran the small, smooth, shaft between his fingers with a devious smile on his lips; fire is no chivalrous savior.





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meggie said...
Jan. 19, 2010 at 9:25 pm
this story is really incredible, the word choice really captures the scope of jack's feelings.
 
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