Last Tuesday, people in my school sent each other flowers. It cost them a dollar or maybe two for one. Almost nobody in my homeroom got a flower. I got one, only because I would always complain to this girl that I never get any flowers. She told me she got me one so I said I’ll get her one too but I never did. I felt bad.
But that’s not my point.
After tenth period that day, I found a discarded red carnation on the floor. It had no stem, just the flower, wide open and all ruffles. It must have been from this guy I know, who sat there—he had received maybe 10~15 flowers. It was from his buddies, as a joke. I wondered if I should pick up the flower. It was so beautiful and red. But sad. I didn’t want to discard it.
So I picked it up and it was beautiful in my hands. It was a sort of sad beauty. I don’t know why. It was just a flower. It was as much a flower as my white carnation. But it was a rouge beauty.
I didn’t want to take it home. I was afraid it might fall apart and disappear in the subway. It was too weak, too precious. So I hung it upside down inside my locker, the way you’re supposed to when you dry flowers. Drying flowers is good. They don’t fall apart. They last forever.
It was so lively inside my locker. So bright red. Soft to the touch, almost like flesh. I couldn’t stop staring at it. I made a wish. I wanted to make a wish to it every day. It was so beautiful.
Today I realized how much darker the flower has gotten. It had started to dry up. I stood there for a while. Nobody was in the hallway. I spoke to it, not to loud, not for anyone to hear but the flower.
“Are you okay?”
I was worried. It was drying up, just as I expected it to. But did the flower prefer that? Would it have wanted that?
And I was. for locking it up all day and all night, in my cramped little locker, in the darkness, all alone. Slowly drying out. Slowly having life and color sucked out of it wondrous ruffles. I enjoyed it. But I worried if the flower minded.
“Would you have liked me to take you home?”
I can see my white carnation right now. Next to my computer, in freshly changed water and plenty of light. It blossomed like crazy. The shy, innocent bridal gown opened up to me and it wasn’t so innocent anymore. It’s high up in the air, as if showing off all their beauty. It’s a little sickening to look at. The loss of its innocence.
I didn’t want that happening to my red beauty. I wanted it to stay shy and sad. It was pretty sad. Sad was beautiful. It hung its head in my locker, turning darker and darker and drying away.
Dear flower, you will not wither. You will keep your beauty. The white flower blossoms but it will wilt—and when it wilts the leaves from its high head will fall to the floor. Your leaves will not fall apart, it would have nowhere to drop on. You are denied water and light but you have me. You have my love. And you’ll have your inner beauty forevermore. I’m sorry for torturing you like this.
But you know what, dear flower?
You will always be beautiful.