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Flower Names for Girls (2nd Revision)

Daisy, Violet, and Rose. The young girls displayed out in the window, stretching leg muscles in the last rays of a cherry-colored sun, backs to fluorescent lights. Legs placed high on the poplar bar, swaying back and forth. Daisy’s leg quivers. Violet slumps more than stretches; her instructor straightens her out. Rose has been growing so much, the shirt she’s always worn now raises to show her strained belly button, pulling against itself. There were others, but these were his flowers. He came here one day, in the fog of one winter evening and glanced upon the girls smiling and standing on their tip toes. He would stop by on his way home from work and watch them. Because they had none (that he knew of), he eventually gave them all names and stories. Evan stands on a curb across the street, smoking cherry-scented cigs. He was here yesterday and he’ll be here tomorrow.

Daisy’s 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 into the mirror, sees her mousy hair and freckles and thinks “I wish I was pretty and talented like Rose is.” Her parents are always away at work and she has to take care of herself. She packs her own lunches and the kids at school make fun of her. They used to call her “glasses kid.” The name didn’t bother her (it’s a dumb nickname anyway), but the fact that she’d been singled out, excluded, treated as an “other” would sometimes make her cry when she got home from school. She convinced her parents to get her contact lenses, but she still cries sometimes when she gets home.

In the studio, when the teacher passes by, Daisy always puts her head down. Evan always see the instructor’s finger flicking upward. He is telling her to keep her chin up, which she does, but her eyes still look like she’s somewhere far away and miserable. 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. One day, Evan will walk and and put his arms around her and tell her that everything is going to be okay. He’ll support her small figure as she performs a perfect plié and glides through the air like a sparrow through the glades.

Violet isn’t interested in improving herself. She doesn’t go to classes as much anymore. She sometimes runs late and gives Evan strange looks. Evan is worried that she might suspect him and tell the instructor and he will call the police. If they knew about him, it would ruin the purity of their dance. Violet isn’t pure, though. Evan is pretty sure that she knows and wants him to look. She likes to have men give her attention. She must have a boyfriend that keeps her from practice. Evan thinks she must come 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 often 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, loved her for who she is, to give her light where she is accustomed to darkness. Maybe she would open up… Evan stomps out his cigarette and lights another. Violet always gets him flustered, makes him feel urges he doesn’t want to. But when he watches Rose, all his worries melt away.

Rose is the image of blissful serenity, the idol of the class. She’s probably been here since she was a toddler, 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 combs out her hair so each strand flows free, glistening with a reddish hue in the sunlight. Evan imagines her as the head cheerleader and valedictorian. She is almost too mature and soon she will be too old. She’ll miss out on her childhood and she’ll look back and regret it. 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 and excel. She can feel the pressure burning at her heels, but she never lets on while she’s in class. She just grits her teeth, an unconscious rebellion against her parents who paid for all the beautiful dental work. She tries to convince herself that she’s dancing for herself. Her parents want her to get good grades, work in all sorts of extra-curricular activities. She’s on the debate team and works with the school newspaper. If she has time to go out with friends, her parents won’t let her go. They’re worried about her “safety.” She is alone. Without dancing, she has nothing, no one.

Evan pictures himself behind Rose, wearing black tights. He supports her from the shadows, lifting her high into the air. But nobody notices him. They cry out “Rose! Rose!”  They only see her, how beautiful and elegant she is. All the while,  he supports her. High into the air, she flies away from all the pain and the loneliness. And they would only talk about her and her beauty and her grace… and they would love her. He wouldn’t let his parents touch her. Nobody was fit to touch her. They would watch and love her, but only his love was real…

Evan thrusts his cigarette to the ground without stepping on it. He tucked his hands into his overcoat’s pockets, pulling it tight on his shoulders and shuffled away. He was here yesterday and he’d be there tomorrow. The cigarette remains on the curb, smoldering, the cherry still burning red.

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Flower Names for Girls (Revision)

Because they had none, he gave them all names and a story.

Daisy, Violet, and Rose. Evan watches them through the window as he has a smoke. He was here yesterday and he’ll be here tomorrow.

Daisy’s pliés are sloppy, but she’s been getting better these past months. He can picture her practicing at home, using her sink for support. As she does this, she looks into the mirror and sees her mousy hair and freckles and thinks “I’m not pretty or talented enough like Rose is.” Her parents are always away at work and she has to take care of herself. She packs her own lunches and the kids at school make fun of her. They call her “glasses kid.” It’s a dumb nickname. The name doesn’t bother her, but the fact that she’s been singled out, excluded, treated as an “other.” It makes her cry when she gets home from school. 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 her eyes still look like she’s somewhere far away and miserable. 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. One day, Evan will walk and and put his arms around her and tell her that everything is going to be okay. He’ll support her small figure as she does a perfect plié.

Violet, on the other hand,  isn’t interested in improving herself. She doesn’t go to classes as much anymore. Violet looks at Evan with strange looks sometimes as she crosses the street, usually running late. Evan is worried that she might suspect him and tell the teacher and he will call the police. 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. Evan is pretty sure that she knows and wants him to look. She likes to have men give her attention. She must have a boyfriend that keeps her from practice. Evan thinks she must come 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 often 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, took love her for who she is, to give her light where she is accustomed to darkness. Maybe she would open up… Evan stomps out his cigarette and lights another. He shakes the cobwebs out of his head. His conscience is clear. Is pure.

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. Takes good care of her hair, too. It shines golden with a reddish hue in the sunlight. Evan imagines her as the head cheerleader and valedictorian. She is almost too mature and soon she will be too old. She’ll miss out on her childhood and she’ll look back and regret it. 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. She can feel the pressure burning at her heels, but she never lets on while she’s in class. She just grits her teeth, a unconscious rebellion against her parents who paid for all the beautiful dental work. She tries to convince herself that she’s dancing for herself. Her parents want her to get good grades, work in all sorts of extra-curricular activities. She’s on the debate team and works with the school newspaper. If she has time to go out with friends, her parents won’t let her go. They’re worried about her “safety.” 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… and they would love her. He wouldn’t let his parents touch her. Nobody was fit to touch her. They would watch and love her, but only his love was real…

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 and shuffled away. He was there yesterday and he’d be there tomorrow. The cigarette sat on the curb, smoldering.

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Filed under FEATHERTON SESSION, Flash Fiction

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.

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Tawny Braids

Tawny braids swing like a metronome in front of my nose. I can almost smell her hair, that mixture of shampoo and her own natural oils. I so want to just walk up to her and smell her hair. I want to take her braids and pull them back, run my nose up and down each carefully wrought coil, taking a powerful sniff of both intricate cords. They’re French braids. Oo la la! I can’t even imagine how good they must smell, just brushing off the back of her neck with her every step. If only I could just take one smell, one whiff, then I would be satisfied. Ah, but she would hate me. She’d hate me and then I’d never see those braids again. Cupid, that horrid little monster, has made it my fate to watch, to be teased by these bouncing, curving, magnificent locks of hair. But I get the last laugh. Every morning as she walks six blocks to work, I know I am one of the few people in the entire world able to lay eyes on braids so immaculate as these. Oh, but I can only imagine how they must smell!

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session VII