The Romance of the Rose


  I could not help myself, I fell in love with the florist. Each day he handed me arrangements of flowers: lilies-of-the-valley, chrysanthemums and roses, exotic willows and violets. As a lover he was strange and melancholy: he had an intense hatred for the out-of-doors and almost never left the house; the mention of sports made him dizzy and a car moving too fast would bring him close to tears. He was deathly afraid of heights and he was not homosexual. When he found me talking to another man he brought me a wreath and said he would leave me, though he did not. In the winter, though, it was I who could not leave my bed: my robe seemed to grow roots on the sheets and I made him bring me my meals on a tray. When he threatened to leave I became the carnation in his lapel, I was his brooch. When the weather became warm and clear, somehow it was he who wrapped me in a blanket, dragged me outside to a park; and when we made love I was the one who wilted, I felt my color brush off on his chin. And when he took me home for the last time, I could not help but stare at the limp stems of flowers, the discolored water,the fragrance of my own immobility, the fear that all this could happen again, and when it did, nothing would blossom, nothing would spoil.