|Photo courtesy of Nellie|
And now, the story...
She hurls the flower away and it lands in the snow. It looks absurd lying there, bright red against dirty slushy brown.
"He's a jerk," I tell her. Truth be told, some days I think he's pretty cool, but I know it's what she wants to hear. And he certainly has acted like a jerk to her recently.
She responds with a comment which is both vulgar and unlikely, given that she has broken up with him that morning. The rose was his attempt to get back in her good graces. He left it on her doorstep in a little vase. I know because I drove her home, like I've driven her home every night after practice this week. Romeo and Juliet. She plays Juliet, I play the the nurse. Thanks goodness he isn't playing Romeo. Can you imagine it? Awkward!
She takes one last puff from her cigarette and it too gets tossed to the ground. "OK, I've got to get inside. Barcus gave us a crapload of calculus homework for tomorrow. You drive safely. I'll see you at school tomorrow."
We hug briefly. She pulls away and gives a little wave before going up the steps to her porch and into her house.
It's cold and quiet. The suburban side street has only parked cars, no one is around, not even the seemingly-ubiquitous dogwalkers. No one is watching.
I pick the discarded rose up from the ground. I'll take it home with me, put it in some water, set it on my nightstand. It will look beautiful for a few days before it withers. This will suffice.