Falling Petals

Submitted for Contest #74 in response to: Write a story in the form of a top-ten list.... view prompt

45 comments

Dec 30, 2020

Speculative Coming of Age Romance

***Trigger warning for suicide at number 5 and death at number 9.***

“Flowers. I remember fields of flowers, soft beneath my heels. Walking in the sun, I remember someone. Someone by my side, turned his face to mine. And then I turned away, into the shade.”

1) Zinnia - “The zinnia flower has several meanings including thoughts of friends, endurance, daily remembrance, goodness and lasting affection.”

We were young, on that one day in the shade of the old willow tree, but we still felt as old as time itself. She turned to me, her bright green eyes sparkling in the light. Her long auburn hair had gracefully fallen to her side, as she smiled an equally bright smile, a smile of remembrance and, dare I say it, love. She was just under eight, and I was nine, but we still felt that togetherness adults always spoke of. That togetherness where you feel yourself as one unit, as one body, as one choice in life. It was the sort of love of fairy tales - not the ones you hear at school, but the ones your parents tell you just before bed. Where the ending doesn’t matter, as long as your mother and father think you’re asleep. 

We used to laugh about fairy tales, claiming we were above them, and older than the others in our class. I wish we didn’t grow apart so quickly. I wish we had more time together. Even after she moved away with a tearful goodbye, I will always miss my Zinnia.

2) Kalmia -  “Kalmia is a symbol of perseverance. It can also be offered as a sign of treachery.”

The Kalmia flowers are beautiful, with their bunches of snowy white orbs, but they’re just  poisonous as they are exquisite. My Kallie was like that, with her flaring amber eyes, shining bright like the sun. I don’t know if I loved Kalmia the same way I loved my Zinnia back in the day, because I was a different person in my early teens then back when I was a child. As I grew, I became different, and so did Kallie. I know she was reserved at some point in her life, as all are at some point, but when I knew her, she was fierce and formidable. 

Kallie always had an adventure to go on, a quest to fulfill. She was always out on a journey, some sort of way of proving herself to herself, I suppose. Our minds were still developing, and we didn’t always know what was right. When a teenager thinks something is right, it’s usually wrong, and that is exactly what happened to my poor Kalmia, lost in the world she so viciously wanted to see. She had run away without telling a soul, and the rest of us had to deal with the pain and regret of Kalmia’s betrayal, if you could call it that. It felt like a betrayal at the time, but at least I am convinced that she is somewhere in a better place. 

3) Peony - “People believe that peony bushes that are loaded with flowers are good luck – but once those flowers fade or dry up, you need to brace yourself for disaster.“

My Peony wilted, as simple as that. I was an adult at the time, if barely. A couple years into college, fresh into the world, when I met her. She was breathtakingly beautiful, just like a blooming flower. She looked just like my Zinnia did back in the day. Perhaps that’s why I loved her so dearly, because she reminded me so much of her, with the same sparkle in her eyes and joy for everything around her. When I was around my Peony, I could feel younger, yet also more mature than I did with Kalmia. She was unique, but she was also exactly what I needed. My other half, for that time in my life. 

But alas, time will always continue, and lies will always spread. I’m not proud of myself for my part in our breakup, but the best thing I can do is accept it and move along throughout my life. 

4) Dahlia - “Black dahlias, which are actually dark burgundy, convey negative meanings compared to the other shades. Since they have the strongest hue of all dahlias, they often symbolize betrayal, sadness, and other negative emotions.”

She was the only one I may never forgive. With her flaming soul, dark black hair, and the same glint in her eyes that I had seen in Kallie all those years ago, it was no accident that I was head over heels. She made me feel alive, just like I had all those years ago when I was a child. I guess I never really knew her, just how she made me feel, but I still loved her with all of my heart. 

Kalmia’s betrayal was nothing compared to her’s, if you could even call what Kallie did a betrayal. She left me, but my Dahlia did something even worse. She told me something, something that broke my heart into a million little glass shards. She told me she didn’t love me. 

Deep down, I may have known it at the time, but it still hurt. Like Kallie’s, now that I’m older and wiser, I don’t even know if this was a betrayal, but it certainly felt like one at the time. I still don’t know what life my poor Dahlia has lived to this day, but I know that deep down, I still love her, the same childish love I held for Zinnia, matched with the desire I had for my Peony.

5) Iris - “A message.”

At this point, I was older and wiser, though still quite young in my journey through life. I still held the same childish fascination with love, and I know that my Iris did, too. She had seen me one night, I can’t even remember where or when, but she decided to write me a letter, conveying her feelings of hurt and longing to me. Not longing for me, of course, but longing for a better life and a better perspective on all around her. I remember asking her why she chose me to talk to, and she just laughed, saying it just simply felt the most natural. I loved her, though I’m not entirely sure if she completely loved me. I’m not completely sure if she loved anyone, at the point in her life that we knew each other.

The last letter I received from my Iris was a suicide note. I remember crying for days on end about my poor, blue eyed Iris, but she was gone, gone like a flower wilting in the sun. 

6) Azalea - “Throughout the world, this flower stands for love and gentleness, making it perfect to give to a loved one for any occasion. “

Azaleas are wildflowers. They grow despite any wind or snow, rain or shining of the sun. My Azalea was just like that. She grew despite everything tearing her down, everything trying to hold her tightly back. She just kept growing, and she always will. My Azalea and I don’t have a tragic ending like so many others on this list, we just continued to grow until we grew apart. 

I’m sure that someday, someone else will pick my Azalea, but until then, she was just a girl in my life - one who I loved dearly, but not one who tore me apart like the others. We were ready to move on from each other, and so we did, tearfully, but still happily. I still think of her sometimes when I lay awake at night, but the truth is that my Azalea is gone from me, and it’s probably for the better.

7) Magnolia - “The magnolia is a very tough, hard flower, unlike other delicate flowers. This is owing to the fact that it has had to adapt to changing climatic and geological conditions in order to survive, and it is precisely due to this feature that the flower represents endurance, eternity, and long life.”

My Magnolia was supposed to be the love of my life, the one I always would have with me. She was the yin to my yang, I thought, the blossoming flowers to my tall branches. She was everything to me, and then she left me. I remember standing there at the altar alone, waiting for them to call in the bride. For five minutes, ten minutes, twenty. She just never came, and that was the last I saw of my Magnolia.

The Magnolia is a tough, hard flower, supposedly, and I suppose she was. But the Magnolia is also a representation of endurance and a long life, and I guess while she way live one, we will never live that long life together. 

8) Aster - “Named after the Greek word for "Star" due to its blooms resembling a star.”

People used to use the stars the way we do maps. A force of good, showing you direction and helping you find your destination. And Aster means star. 

She was like Azalea, in a way. We parted tearfully, but joyfully, knowing it was what was best for the two of us. I had just had my heart broken with my Magnolia, and my Aster was there to comfort me. There may have been love between us, but it was mostly just her guiding me through life after everything that had happened. I used to tell her about my childhood dreams, and she would listen, listening calmly, but behind that stoic and comforting gaze was her own pain, pain I knew she also felt, but never asked her about. Eventually, she broke down, telling me everything. And that was the moment I knew that we could never work out together. 

9) Poppy - “ Poppies have long been used as a symbol of sleep, peace, and death” 

I struggled coming up with a name for her, because Poppy just felt so happy and cheery. But she was the second to die on me, and therefore Poppy feels good enough. My Poppy was different from the others. She was beautiful, yes, but she was also just a beacon of light to everyone around her. We were older by now, the two of us both in our late forties, but she always felt so young, bringing me up higher with her. I loved her, but it was a different sort of love than all of the others. She made me feel lighter, but not younger. When we danced together, I felt just like a feather in the wind.

She was always bright, even when she passed on, her face growing cold. She hid her illnesses from me, since the day we met, and kept them secret until the day she died. I wept so many salty tears on that day, flowers could grow. They would grow strong in the place of my Poppy, stronger still in the place of all my flowers. 

10) Primrose - “From the English word for the flower, ultimately deriving from Latin prima rosa "first rose.”

The primrose flowers are the first to bloom in the spring. My Primrose was the last to bloom in my heart. She’s always by my side, no matter what in my current state. I know that she’ll always be there for me, even after death. I know that she’ll tell my story to the world, tell everyone about my other flowers. I don’t know if I can even put her on a list of all my failed loves, but I know that we’ll have to part someday soon. I know that my time in this life is coming to an end, and I wish my Primrose the best of luck in her ventures in her own life. This is for you, my Primrose.

My last love. 

I will never forget you. 

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45 comments

Zilla Babbitt
15:00 Dec 31, 2020

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting..." I guess I feel like quoting a lot today. I love this concept, it's so creative. Azaleas are my favorite of the bunch. I live in a region where they bloom with all their strength for about two weeks in the spring and then are just bushes for the rest of the year. I find it a little odd someone would name their kid Peony, because bullies can be creative and cruel. Other than that, I'd recommend choosing one of the ten, maybe the first, and have the mc treat her like a flower. Delicate and dumb,...

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Maya W.
15:04 Dec 31, 2020

Haha, I like peonies, so I thought I'd include them. Also, I sorta wanted it to read like he was naming the women to his last relationship, like he was giving them all flower names based on his relationship with them. If that didn't come off very clear, maybe I'll edit it more. I might do that! I don't think I'll do Rose, because I did Primrose, but that's a good idea!

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Maya W.
17:54 Dec 30, 2020

Really, really melodramatic, lol. Also, I never write romance - why am I suddenly writing romance a ton? Oh well. I hope you all enjoy! ALSO, I'M ON THE LEADERBOARD AHHH THANKS SO MUCH EVERYONE I LOVE YOU ALL.

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01:25 Dec 31, 2020

Hi Maya! I really enjoyed this story, I noticed you have a gift for describing different types of people—even in your story about the dreams (the prompt was about 5 proposals in 1 night), you described all the characters really well. I liked the way you described Kallie in particular!

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Maya W.
01:28 Dec 31, 2020

Thanks, Imaan! I actually have a friend named Kalmia who goes by Kallie, but this Kalmia is nothing like her, lol. Honestly, describing stuff is pretty hard. I find myself reusing a lot of descriptions. I'm glad people don't see, to be catching on, lol.

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Yolanda Wu
23:39 Dec 30, 2020

Ahh, I love flowers so much, so reading a top-ten list about it is totally my jam. I think that you did such a great job conveying his feelings for each of the women he has had a close connection with through the flowers. I really like how it's so vague, in that we don't really know much about the women, only what he has perceived them as, also how the reason he fell for the certain women, or flowers, was because of his previous loves. I love how the tenth one is primrose, which is his last love, when the word itself means, "first rose", the...

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Maya W.
23:52 Dec 30, 2020

Thanks! Yeah, I knew going into this that I wanted the last two to be Poppy and Primrose. I also liked the idea of Iris being suicidal for some reason, and I was inspired to start with Zinnia because of Luculia from the show Violet Evergarden, which I've been watching. I also really wanted him to learn from each flower lady as he grows older, which hopefully I conveyed well!

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Yolanda Wu
00:13 Dec 31, 2020

You definitely conveyed that well!

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Maya W.
01:25 Dec 31, 2020

Okay, now I'm about a page through another story for these prompts. This'll be my fourth one this week. Why do I do this to myself?

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Yolanda Wu
02:36 Dec 31, 2020

Wow, I wouldn't even dream of writing stories that fast. Keep going, lol. :)

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Maya W.
02:37 Dec 31, 2020

I actually just finished it, but I'm waiting to hear from a friend (Rhonda, actually) if she can edit it for me.

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20:29 Jan 10, 2021

Maya!!! This was sooo good! I see why you thought I would love this one lol! Ugh, I just love flowers!! I really enjoyed the overall story and how you used the flowers to describe his love life, it was really descriptive and hooking at the same time! I loved the way you ended it too! Honestly this written beautifullyyy! Great job Maya!!

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Maya W.
20:31 Jan 10, 2021

Thanks, Ugochi! I'm actually editing up a story (not for these prompts) about flowers right now, lol,

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04:30 Jan 11, 2021

Of course! Oh cool! Can't wait to read!

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Aaron Caicedo
18:23 Jan 06, 2021

Yup, this one was great as well! Great job!

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Maya W.
20:15 Jan 06, 2021

Thank you!

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Azrael Page
21:16 Jan 08, 2021

This was such a unique story! Love love LOVE how you chose to use flowers. My personal favorites are probably irises and asters. Maybe because they're purple? I love the idea and the flowers you picked. Brilliant! :)

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Maya W.
21:19 Jan 08, 2021

Haha, you skipped a few stories. Thank you! If you like this one, be sure to check out R.K.'s story, Wildflower Lyrics sometime. It has a very similar concept. Also, I saw in your bio that you're a violinist and a chef? I am, too!

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Azrael Page
21:24 Jan 08, 2021

This one caught my eye, so here I am lol. I'll definitely check that story out (now I'm intrigued). Yes to violinist but no to chef; I'm a chef-in-training! I need to work on my cooking skills.

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Maya W.
21:25 Jan 08, 2021

I guess same would go for me - I'm definitely no professional.

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Scar Katelyn
03:39 Jan 08, 2021

This story has a lovely plot but I think it’s very slightly copying in a way tho because R.K. wrote a similar story and u even commented on that i mean ovbiously it’s fine to use the flower thingy but you even used like the same format and stuff. It would be nice if u just put them in a different way. overall, i liked the idea of him comparing his lovers to the flowrs and the interesting feeling for with each. i really felt so many emotions! great writing, look forward to more of your descriptions and your great ideas :)

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Maya W.
03:41 Jan 08, 2021

Oh, Ru (R.K.) and I are friends, she's totally okay with it, lol. We actually talked about it in the comments! But even then, are stories both had different sorts of plots, so I wouldn't necessarily call it copying, but to each their own. Thanks for the suggestions!

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Scar Katelyn
03:46 Jan 08, 2021

Oh that's cool and i understand :) I was just saying that because sometimes people say they are okay with it but still might feel sad or upset inside. but it's great that you're friends and i'm glad! I'm hoping to make friends too even tho I'm here to read and might not be on all the time. I'm happy i came across your stories! ~Scarlet

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Maya W.
03:54 Jan 08, 2021

Aww, I’m sure you’ll make some friends!

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21:44 Jan 01, 2021

You asked me to read this, so I did! I like how their names are all flowers. Did the protagonist fall in love only with people with flower names, or does he just call them by whichever flower they're like? This is done in a musical style-- iris's letters, dahlia's betrayal, Kalmia's beautiful poison, and everything else is just so good I love it! Congrats on getting on the leaderboard! :)

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Maya W.
22:29 Jan 01, 2021

Thanks, Emmie! In this story, he's giving each person a flower name based on his relationship with them. I'm glad you liked it!

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17:59 Jan 02, 2021

Okay, thanks for the clarification! It was really good :)

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Ana Govindasamy
21:55 Dec 30, 2020

Hi! Wow, I came from the critique circle and this is amazing! I like the whole flower/name/meaning idea! It’s great and super creative! Not really a critique but I think with Poppy, you could’ve done something with it symbolising remembrance...you thought she was hardy and a sign of victory, then she broke your heart and twisted the expectations...it’s a suggestion

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Maya W.
22:03 Dec 30, 2020

Thanks! I think I'll keep it the way it is, because that's sorta like Dahlia, but I appreciate the suggestion!

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Ana Govindasamy
22:34 Dec 30, 2020

Yeah I guess haha

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I love this! This really deserves to win, its just so great!

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Maya W.
20:36 Dec 30, 2020

Omg, thank you so much! I hope so, haha.

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Amaya Macaulay
20:05 Dec 30, 2020

Hii! You probably don't remember me (i think we had a brief conversation once? idrk) but I was wondering if you could pls look at my bio

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Maya W.
20:10 Dec 30, 2020

Oh, hey Amaya! I'll go check it out!

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Amaya Macaulay
20:11 Dec 30, 2020

what do you think?

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Maya W.
20:19 Dec 30, 2020

Ah, well, I'm really not very informed about what's going on in the arctic, but I can look into it and fill out the form if I know enough about the organization - sorry I'm not immediately filling it out or anything, I just sorta need to figure out more stuff before doing that, y'know?

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Amaya Macaulay
20:20 Dec 30, 2020

oh no i totally understand, that's exactly what I did! :)

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R. K.
18:18 Dec 30, 2020

Ah, I love flowers. This reminds me so much of my story 'Wildflower Lyrics' because of the similar concept this story adopts from there. When I saw black dahlia and magnolia, it instantly made me think of the flowers I incorporated in that story and brought back memories of fun times. I guess that's the beauty of flowers, to evoke different feelings and memories to different people. Black dahlias might mean betrayal to some, but maybe others fell in love surrounded by them. You showed that beautifully. Anyway, it had me wondering does one h...

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Maya W.
19:12 Dec 30, 2020

Okay, so, first of all, thanks for reading and not getting mad that I copied you slightly! I mean, it's still pretty different, and I was also inspired by the show Violet Evergarden, but a similar concept. Great minds come up with similar ideas! By the time the protagonist is writing the list, he's pretty old. Like, around his late 80's. He's lived a long life, so I think it makes sense for him to have at least ten people he's had close romantic relations with. Also, what I was trying to get across at the end was that he wasn't just telling...

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Maya W.
00:57 Jan 01, 2021

Hey Ru, I wrote yet another story if you can check it out!

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