Flower Names for Girls

They practice every day at noon. Evan has a smoke as he watches them through the second floor window. Because they had none, he gave them all names and a story.

Daisy is the shy one. Her pliés are sloppy, but she’s been getting better these past months. He can picture her practicing at home, using her sink for support. She looks at herself and thinks that she’s not pretty or talented enough like Rose is. In the studio, when the teacher passes by, she always puts her head down. Evan always see the teacher’s finger flicking upward. He is telling her to keep her chin up, which she does, but Evan can tell she is just looking at her reflection in the window. She is telling herself that she is not pretty or talented enough.

Violet, on the other hand, hasn’t been improving at all. She doesn’t go to classes as much anymore. Violet looks at him strangely sometimes as she crosses the street, usually running late. Evan is worried that she might suspect him and break the illusion. He doesn’t want them to notice him and break their concentration. If they knew about him, it would ruin the purity of their dance. Violet isn’t pure, though. She must have a boyfriend that keeps her from practice. She comes from a poor family that wants her to dance, but she just wants to smoke and listen to music and make fun of ugly kids. Violet argues with the teacher. She doesn’t take ballet seriously and the teacher knows it. He has given up on her, would rather she didn’t stay and wilt the beautiful bouquet he has arranged in his studio. If someone nurtured her… Evan stomps out his cigarette and lights another.

Rose is the idol of the class, the older pupil that everyone looks up to. Fifteen or sixteen and almost a woman, she ties down her breasts. They’ve grown out more than she’d like and it gets in the way of her dancing. She takes good care of her hair. It shines gold in the sunlight. Evan imagines her as the head cheerleader and valedictorian. She is almost too mature and soon she will be too old. Her parents are trying to make her into something they never managed when they were her age. They push her hard to be studious, to get good grades. They won’t let her go out with friends. She is alone.

Evan pictures himself behind Rose, wearing black tights. He would support her from the shadows, lifting her high into the air. But nobody would notice him. They would only notice Rose and how beautiful and elegant she is. And he would support her, though nobody would notice. High into the air. And they would only talk about her and her beauty and her grace…

Evan thrust his cigarette to the ground without stepping on it. He tucked his hands into his overcoat’s pockets, pulling it tight on his shoulders. The cigarette sat on the curb, smoldering.



Filed under FEATHERTON SESSION, Flash Fiction

6 responses to “Flower Names for Girls

  1. I thoroughly enjoy the strong, strong voice in this piece of Evan. Though pretty creepy, there’s something to beautiful and delicate, much like the girls, in this unwarranted yet loving gaze. Behaviors and voice is very believable.

    The particular biographies of these three girls are exquisite and very charming. I think it would be interesting if you were to go back and edit to give the reader more of a feel of what they physically look like. Clearly hinted through the names, in my opinion, I would love to see how Evan sees their physical features. But I appreciate the concentration on their skills as dancers and how much it really informs Evan about their, through his eyes of course, personalities and lives.

  2. shortnmorose

    This is such a beautiful piece. As S.P. says, despite the creepiness, you really bring out the pure delicateness of his gaze and his admiration for the girls. I also like the imagery of the cigarette and the smoke. I read it as somewhat of a symbol or metaphor for his ardor. It gave the piece a sense of closure and added to the imagery of a pensive man, wanting to give himself to the girls.

    I also liked the mini-biographies of each of the girls, Daisy, Violet, and Rose. Their behaviors are solid and believable and the narration really helps the reader empathize for each of the characters, including Evan. This piece reminds me of Toni Morrison in The Bluest Eye and her ability to humanize even the most evil of actions. Beautiful piece!

  3. I thought the characterization of Violet in the 2nd paragraph was strongest, especially this line “She comes from a poor family that wants her to dance, but she just wants to smoke and listen to music and make fun of ugly kids.” I would take out the obvious “Daisy is the shy one” because I think the characterizations can accomplish that already, and if I had to revise, I would spend most of my time on this paragraph to differentiate her from Violet’s sloppiness and Rose’s insecurities more.

    I thought the creepiness and the raunchiness of the thrusting and the tying of the breasts down and the dark imagery and the lifting and the thighs and the smoldering in the last paragraph were excellent!

  4. soulinmyfist

    This is a very interesting piece about a peeping tom or stalker or ex-dancer or lover of ballet… I’m not too sure. Evan’s motives for watching the girls dance isn’t too clear.

    Evan’s observations of the girls are very detailed and insightful. Based on what he sees in their behavior, dancing, consistency, etc, he pieces together all three girls’ stories as true or false as they may be. It’s obvious he has a certain inclination towards Rose as he romanticizes supporting her… dance being a metaphor for something more, maybe life?

    The only thing is that I don’t feel like there is much of an end to this story… does he continue watching them for days, weeks, months, years on end? Does Violet discover him? Does he ever approach Rose? Hmm…

  5. I was surprised that Evan was fixated on the girl who was already the idol of the class, that he wanted to “lift her up.” Why is this, when she is already the idol of the class?

    It was so easy to forget, in my first reading, that these were stories that Evan had made up about the girls. It adds an air of mystery about who this man is, why he watches them during his smoke break every day, how he imagined their characteristics.

  6. awesomepie

    Thank you for your replies. I’m glad you enjoyed the story and are curious about the characters. I’ll have to add some more characterization in my revisions, definitely. It was interesting, especially, to hear fadebot’s comment that Violet was developed the best (and I suppose Daisy the least). Also, thanks to Narinda for asking why he would want to lift Rose up “who was already the idol of the class”? It’s a good question.

    ‘Appreciate it.

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