The Flower in the Flower Pot
One day, he chose her.
Earlier that day, he had woken up just as he usually does for all days. He had thrown on his robe, but not gone so far as to tie the thick and fuzzy rope around his waist. He left it open so that he could still feel the breeze that traveled in through the balcony in his bedroom and traveled out through the balcony in his living room. He had found a few moments to stand out on his bedroom’s balcony, sipping on the three-day-steeped coffee he had pressed and poured into small mason jars. He had looked out at the mountains, at the main street where cars buzzed grumpily on their way to work, and then he looked down at his chilled mason jar and said quietly out loud, “I need to stop drinking so much coffee.”
For a half an hour, he took up a needle and thread. He began patching up the holes in the denim he so carefully wore and wore through with care. He sat in his chair, in and out with the needle, one stitch at a time. The empty whiskey glass next to his bed watched him patiently, knowing its turn would come later that evening. The book of dates and times laid open on his dresser, reminding him of responsibilities, duties, and promises. A cellphone charging on his nightstand reminded him that he lived in 2016 that whined just as much as any year did. After he had sewn enough to see some progress, he set his dainty tools and denim down and proceeded to the shower where he stripped himself of his already untied robe. He let the warm water calm his hair. He washed the sleep from his eyes. He stood still a moment, feeling the mysterious pains in his back that weren’t supposed to come until much later in life.
After the shower, he stood in front of his mirror wrapped in a large purple towel. He took out a little cup and filled it with warm water just before lathering the bottom half of his face with creamy soap. With slow, careful movements, he shaved his face with a straight edge razor. The sound of the razor grazing across his face was loud and rough, but somehow very satisfying to the young man’s ears. Once he was dressed in his T-Shirt and denim and long wool socks, he sat on his coffee table in such a way that his mother would not approve. He slipped his feet into large leather boots that had been shaped to his feet over the years. He tied the shoelaces as he did every morning, with some kind of sacred quiet that prepared him for the day. With his shoelaces tied, he could walk out the front door, he could stand up all day at work, and if the occasion arose, he could runaway.
With a jacket and keys, out the door he went. Down the steps he went. Into the car he went.
And when he turned the key in the ignition and heard the engine cough away, plans of going to work suddenly disappeared. Suddenly, he felt he must go elsewhere. He put the car in reverse, backed out, and drove…not to work.
Twenty minutes later, Jacob walked into a nursery of flowers. He walked slowly, studying the rows of flowers underneath the dark aqua rooftops. Flowers here, flowers there. He had owned some flowers before. They had died terrible withered deaths. It had saddened him to see them give up, to see him mess up, to see it all end in shriveled petals with the scent of something that was once lovely, sweet, and happy, now dried up. A few months ago, the idea of dead flowers--a potpourri of failure—it might just have saddened him so much that he would have no choice but to turn around, get in the car, and head straight to work. Not today.
On a low shelf, a small plant in a small pot had been tucked away and forgotten about. Jacob saw its stem twisted in some scraggly way, desperate to get the drops of sunlight that sometimes teased little spots on its few handfuls of soil. He stopped and knelt in front of it. There was only one flower, struggling for sun and love. The fact that it reached out so far only to reach so little sunlight was what struck him so. He reached out and felt the petals, soft and malnourished. He touched the stem, rough from lack of sunlight, from lack of water, from lack of love. When he let go of the flower, it dropped a few inches down, heavy with the weight of nature on her petal’s shoulders.
Jacob looked around to confirm that they were alone before speaking to the flower. He didn't want anyone thinking that he had lost his mind. No one was in sight so he leaned in and whispered, “You are beautiful, and I like you. May I take you home with me?”
The little flower sighed and nodded, and Jacob picked up the pot. They drove home together, both happier than before.
The next days that followed were similar to his days prior. He woke up just as he usually did for all days. He threw on a robe, drank more coffee than he intended, sewed a few more stitches onto his denim. . . Everything was the same, except for one thing. Before he tied his shoelaces, he stood out on the balcony of his bedroom once again. He poured droplets of water from a mason jar onto his little flower.
She was still weak, still recovering, still far from a full bloom. This embarrassed the flower, but it never bothered Jacob. Unlike the plant, he never seemed to be in any hurry. Sometimes when he noticed the flower shrinking away, he would lean forward and whisper, “A flower doesn’t bloom everyday.” And the flower would nod and sigh, and relax, and stretch towards the sun. It was then that he would pretend not to look, but he would peek over with his deep blue eyes and see her petals laid out in the sunlight, careless and comfortable in all of her organic color and shine. Then a smile would escape him, the largest smile that was ever smiled by any man on a balcony in the morning before a long day at work. Then he turned away to tie on his boots, smiling all the while because of that one day that he chose the flower in the flower pot.