For Valentine’s Day a fund raising committee at our school organises Valentine’s roses and other small gifts. You pay up front and they deliver the roses for you. On Monday I found such a rose in the dustbin. Somebody was making a statement. What story of unrequited love was behind it? It inspired me to write a 300 word flash fiction story. Hope you like it.
Mom is crying again. Noah blocks his ears and rocks. Rock, rock, backwards and forwards. Noise. Sobs. Talking? Who is with Mom? He stops and stands up awkwardly then lumbers to Mom’s closed bedroom door.
“O Lord, you know how much I love him, but I am so tired” he hears Mom whisper.
Noah doesn’t understand much but he likes the words. “How much I love. How much I love,” he repeats to himself.
He thinks of his red flower. He found it in a dustbin this morning when he was walking past the school with Mom. Mom always says, “Don’t take things out of the dustbin, Noah. They are dirty.”
Mom wasn’t looking. He stumbled to the dustbin and took the flower. Dirty. It didn’t look dirty. It was red and had a long stem. Red was the only colour he knew. Red. It was wrapped. Like a red sweet. On the wrapping was a red heart. He grabbed the flower. The paper crinkled. He scrunched it with glee and listened to the noise again.
Rotten banana smell came from the dustbin and bothered his nose. The flower had no smell. He stroked it. It felt comforting, like his jacket. He had rescued it from the smell. Dirty.
“Come on Noah, walk faster,” said Mom. He lifted his jersey and stuffed the flower underneath. Scratchy jersey, crinkly paper.
Noah remembers the flower. Red. How much I love. He fetches it from the other red things arranged on the table in his room. He walks to Mom’s door and listens.
“Lord, please just give me some sign that we’re making progress, that the new programme is working.”
Noah opens the door. “What do you need, Noah?” asks Mom.
“How much I love,” says Noah, thrusting the flower at her.