Red roses. A sign of romantic interest, elegant sensuality, and passionate love.
Yes, I have received red roses, but mine weren’t accompanied by affection, butterflies fluttering around my stomach, or flirtatious kisses and caresses.
Mine came with feminine shame, a statement of sexual entitlement, and a paranoia I just can’t shake. I fear I see him in the cereal aisle while picking out my Cheerios. I peek over my shoulder again and again as I walk the driveway to my mailbox. I wake in the predawn, still riding the waves of a nightmare that bleeds into waking reality.
I murder houseplants. Not intentionally, mind you, but the result is still the same…dead flowers, dead leaves, dead roots. I’m pretty sure I’ve even killed the dirt (if that’s possible).
Regardless, for some unintelligible reason, people keep gifting the little pots of green hope to me. I swear, sometimes I’m convinced I can hear their little floral voices begging for mercy and a swift end as their tiny veins dry out and the edges of their delicate fronds curl up, eventually crinkling, splintering, and fluttering down to settle on the ceramic base below.
Over time, I’ve learned to look away from this process, as it tends to bring me down. I only wish I could grant my victims a similar solace.