A knock upon the door reveals a familiar, elderly man, dressed in his finest. His facial expression is one of uncertainty. What does the face of, “I don’t know how you’re still standing” look like anyway? It looks like me… haggard, unwashed, skeletal. “One foot in the grave,” I tell myself, laughter pressing psychotically upon my parched lips.
He’s been on my front step too many times to know what to do or say. That’s a job for the professionals. Nonetheless, his instinct kicks in, avoiding having to look at me for too long, he hands me a meager, lonely rose, wrapped in plastic and tissue and utters his deepest condolences. Words I’ve heard so much they’ve lost any meaning.
I hang it upside down, along with the other two, still not fully dried. I wonder if hospice knew that each one was a different color than its predecessor? Yellow for brother, red for dad, white for mom. A perspicuous plan to avoid the monotony of death?
And now I’m stuck with these dead flowers in place of my dead family. Flowers that make me cry, that I didn’t ask for, a permanent lump in my throat, scars in my story, notes on a nightmare. Passively peeling petals, wilted, searching for signs of solace. Exalt them, bury them, burn them?
I’m so tired of making decisions.
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