Dedicated to Reina, for reminding me what a rose is.
The flowers were dying, but she thought they were beautiful anyway. She loved the way the sun touched them, the yellow stems that shone through the plastic cup she put them in. She’d stolen the flowers. She’d stolen them from somebody’s front yard as she jogged past, pocketed them without a thought. But she supposed it didn’t matter anyway: flowers changed hands quickly. The different kind of green. They had been stolen from nature centuries ago, and now she was taking them back. For herself. Everybody wants something these days.
She looked at them sideways from the bed. No. On second thought, she would let her head slide off of the mattress, hang from the ceiling. Ah, yes. Better. The flowers looked like little stick-skinny girls in bell skirts now. They were shriveled around the edges from where she looked, but in a more intentional way. They suggested a light froth at the edges, a foaming of the skirts. But nobody looked like that. If you wanted to be skinny as a rail you had to grind up wind and eat it; to have pleasing, puffed-up skirts, you had to wear hoops and wires underneath. The flower, the flower could hold all this beauty in it effortlessly, cup its insides with swooping curves. But they had to pay a price for that, right? The different kind of green. Maybe that’s why they couldn’t last like humans did: they got too tired from holding themselves up, looking pretty. Maybe beauty was something that couldn’t be sustained. Nonrenewable resources, little pretties’ lives wasted. A flower is a girl, she thought now, letting her head loll from side to side as a pendulum does, swinging the clock around into thick broth. A flower is a girl that must look pretty all her life for a bee to take her insides, and then she is to die. A flower is a girl. She lifted herself back onto the bed, stared at the flowers right-side up again. Now they just had hoops for heads. Still skinny. She got up. She moved towards the loveliest flower, the biggest and most decayed one, and kissed its open head. What do flowers get when they die? Certainly not other flowers. Humans got flowers when they died, though. How unfair. So she lay down on the floor, looked up at the yellowed stems through their plastic cup. Here is a human for you, she said. Sorry for your loss.