He Buys Me Flowers
He buys me flowers.
Once, when we first met, I told him I liked being bought flowers. I liked the huge white daisies, I said. The ones with the round orange eyes, like bright egg yolks. I liked their simplicity, their nakedness.
He buys me bright orange dahlias, fat blooms, exotic. Expensive. I know by now these flowers represent transgressions. Guilt flowers. The bigger, more expensive the fauna, the larger the transgression.
We both pretend not to know this.
My friend Marcie told me she saw him touch a woman’s bare shoulder at a party three month’s back. She, the woman, was wearing a strapless dress. Marcie said she didn’t see him take her home.
He bought me a large bunch of flaccid pink carnations from the petrol station the next morning.
I arranged the carnations in an old milk bottle and placed them by the bed. They festered there for weeks until I emptied out the brackish water, brown and congealed at the bottom of the bottle.
Two months ago, he confessed to dancing with a girl he met in Tramps nightclub in town. Said she felt him up. Said he’d drunk too much. Said it went no further.
He bought me a fancy looking purple orchid in its own square box. It had a tiny glass vase inside to feed it water. I liberated it from the box, it resembled a cage, and placed it on the hot windowsill of the apartment. Its leaves turned brown and shed onto the floor.
I never told him orchids remind me of death.
He’s been on a business trip to Slough for three days. All expenses paid, free mini-bar. I’ve bought new underwear from M&S. Cooked red snapper (his favourite) for dinner. I’m soaking in a bath of orange blossom salts when I hear him let himself in.
When I emerge from the bathroom, my hair piled high in a soggy towel like a Geisha, he’s standing in the doorway surrounded by a bouquet of red roses. His smile is sheepish, hopeful. His eyes like the glass marbles of a stuffed toy. His face makes my chest hurt.
I don’t know if we can get past the roses. The edge of the velveteen petals are already starting to wilt.
Kate Jones is a freelance writer based in the UK. A regular writer for Skirt Collective, she also writes features and reviews for The State of the Arts. She has also published flash fiction and poetry in various literary magazines, including Sick Lit Magazine, Gold Dust, and 101words. She has been long-listed for Flash 500, and won the weekly AdHoc Fiction contest, as well as being nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Kelly Coody of Sick Lit Magazine for 2017.
Find her on Twitter: @katejonespp
She also blogs at: writerinresidenceblog.wordpress.com