LGBTQ+ Sad Romance

The flowers on the table are wilting. Dying, getting uglier. More grotesque than they had been last tuesday, the day she had bought them downtown from the local florists. She spent a considerably large amount of time downtown these days. Doing what, he didn't have the capacity to ask, nor the patience to await a response. 

    She sauntered into the living room early in the evening. He kept his eyes glued to the television, unblinking and feigning obliviousness. He pretended she was a mere figment of his imagination, something they send you to the looney house for if you’re unfortunate enough to get caught talking to.

“They’re a lovely couple, don’t you know? High school sweethearts opening a floral shop together, can you imagine?”

He grumbled a halfhearted reply, staring ahead at the television set. Station thirteen had been playing since ten o’clock in the morning. He only redirected his attention when the middle of her plaid green dress engorged the entirety of his vision, forcing him to gaze at the arrangement in her outstretched arms. He couldn’t help but notice her freshly manicured nails, splotched a hideous blood red and filed to a dagger’s point. A shiny metal band wrapped around her left finger loosely, as if it could break free with an adverse sleight of hand. He glanced down, stared at the glass bottle in his lap, trying to find comfort in the brown stained lovechair that had once been a wedding gift. 

    “It’s a lovely bouquet, darling”

That’s what he wanted to say. It’s what he would have said if he could ignore the lump of bile that arose in his throat every time he met her piercing blue gaze. If he could force a smile instead of a grimace each time she smiled her brighter-than-heaven smile. Or maybe, just maybe if he could stand to touch her soft golden hair, instead of washing his hands profusely when it accidentally became entangled between his fingers.

    He could feel her gaze on him. She was smiling, waiting for him to do something. Prove that the years of silence stretched between them were those of comfort, rather than avoidance. 

He picked at the label on his bottle. One hundred thirty calories, eleven point four grams of alcohol, and six point six grams of carbohydrates. 

Her smile faltered, he could feel it. She was desperate, he could feel that too.

‘She’s blocking the television’ He thought, before glancing up once more at the array of tulips and orchids in her shaking white knuckled hands. He noted a repulsive brown spot upon a single red blossom. Dark, almost as if it had been spawned at the first bloom. ‘How disgusting’.

She trudged into the kitchen only a moment later, muttering something about supper, and, if there was a particular glumness to her movements, he feigned blindness. The five o’clock special was on, and he listened as Marcus The News Anchor lectured on animal sanctuaries and political correctness and such. Maybe it would distract him from the flowers. Perhaps it would allow him to tune out the hushed sobs that echoed through the silver pots and pans in the kitchen.

He lay in bed that night, hands folded across his chest as he stared up at the popcorn ceiling. He didn’t sleep much anymore, which was strange, because it wasn’t as if he ever had much to think about. All of the thoughts that had once decorated his mind had turned ashen, to dust. They died twelve years ago with a loyalty covenant.

He lay turned away from her on the edge of their king sized mattress. She slept on her stomach, with a hand that seemed trying to reach him, trying to feel him. She didn’t know that her touch burned. That she was acid rain and he was granite, her a fire and him the forest.

Years ago, before they shared a name, he would have stayed up pondering the features on her body, wondering why they left him feeling like a void, like nothing. Was it the appendix scar that stretched across her right hip? Was it the birthmark that tanned her upper left thigh? 

Or maybe, maybe it was because her chest wasn’t flat enough, her shoulders not broad enough. Maybe it was her lengthy blonde hair, and the way it curled at her waist instead of tickling her forehead. Maybe he could learn to love her if she stopped wearing pink dresses and painting her plump lips. If she smelled of cologne instead of vanilla perfume, tasted of peppermint instead of cherry chapstick.

It was months too late before he came to this revelation. He had already kneeled down on one knee, told her, “I love you”, and swore it was genuine. He had already given her diamonds and promised her the moon and stars. He didn't have a choice.

Their exchange of vows at the altar was done through a twisted stomach and a cold sweat. He didn't cry, didn’t even become teary eyed. He tried to fake a semblance of the joyful expression she bore, pretending that his future wasn’t dug in an empty grave. They ended with a kiss, and he imagined someone else’s lips. Someone who fit the loose silver band that wrapped around her left ring finger.

Twelve years later, and he sometimes likes to imagine the way that he could once stand to touch her without flinching. He imagines there was a time he didn’t feel broken, like he needed to be fixed. But deep down, he knew that he was always shattered, and that she only made him aware that the pieces had fallen apart.

No, he didn’t think much anymore, all of the things he needed to think had been thought years ago. He knew that he didn’t love her, he never could. He rested knowing this, but he wasn’t at peace. He was sure that she knew this too, and yet she waited. She always waited. For what, he wasn’t sure, he didn’t particularly care either.

He didn't think anymore, and yet that night, he dreamed of flowers

November 19, 2022 03:15

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