She knew she was getting over him when she threw his shriveled dead flowers in the trash. They had been drying in the sun on the bookshelf next to the window. When she had received them she put them in a cream china vase, a wedding gift from long ago. She had received a life and home from someone else back then as a bride and now in her townhome life of temporary lovers on the outskirts of town she received flowers not from a husband, but from a friend who is a man.
She put the flowers in one of her favorite vases and displayed it on the black table in the middle of her living room, taking a picture for him, showing her friends and her sister. She then moved the flowers to the top of the fireplace where it half obscured the tv and she welcomed the intrusion. That was before he came over for the last time.
When things began to fall apart only a week after she received the flowers, this the landmark of their three months together, she moved the flowers out of her line of sight, over on the kitchen counter, though at that time the flowers were still opening and drinking in water. She kept them there because she didn’t know if the man would call again. She couldn’t bear to get rid of them altogether. Maybe there was still hope. She called him. She received no response.
She moved the flowers over to the window, on the bookshelf, an out of the way place. But she couldn’t throw them out, not quite yet. Soon a pizza box was set beside the flowers, a used box which needed to go out with the garbage. Dried flowers drifted to the kitchen floor, a floor which needed to be swept and mopped. There were a lot of things she needed to attend to after the breakup. She tried to reach him again, No response.
She replenished her kitchen with the little money she had left, picking up a basil plant she loved to have on hand, a little indulgence. The bag clerk at the store had asked her what it was and sniffed it deeply.
At home, the woman put the basil plant next to the vase of drying out flowers, on top of the pizza box, its simple plastic container holding a plant that would last her the summer.
The man’s flowers dried and drifted down. They became ugly.
She watered the basil and put some fresh leaves in a dish to make it more fragrant and flavorful.
Someone else called her and showed her kindness, another man. She felt: What usefulness, drying flowers? There is no call.
She threw out the dried flowers into the plastic bag in the garbage container and shoved them down so their stems broke. How much she had felt for this person. Tomorrow she would clean out the vase. Tomorrow she would put soap into its creamy cavity as well as warm water.
Maybe when she got her house cleaned up and her sink fixed she would make a meal for the new person. But for now she would let him treat her. She would leave her house behind for a couple of hours. And she would try to forget about this man, whom she loved.
She held the vase and felt its coolness in her palm. Its smoothness was like a good love that should only hold living things. It was a beautiful vase she got for her wedding many years ago. It had always been one of her favorites. It didn’t matter it had served another purpose in a previous life. It was still hers. To do with as she saw fit.