The Quiet Opposite These Blooming Flowers by Sparrow Crain

I lie here, stripped of emotion. Your sheets and comforter are pure white, the sunlight reflecting off of it. Your chest rises and falls in a deep yet slow sequence. Your right arm was wrapped behind my back, and would probably be numb when you woke. What would everyone else say if they knew where we were, what we were doing? We shared an apartment with four other guys, who all played a varsity sport or had in the past. This is the farthest thing from what would be expected from you, because of your position here. You have everything to lose from this. You will lose everything for loving me.

"Luce?" I hear you murmur in your sleep. I hate when you say her name. It makes me realize how much of you that I don't have. You swore that she was nothing compared to me in your eyes, but I didn't believe you, even now. I stare at you. You didn't shave this morning, I cant tell. I'm awkward in that way, memorizing the features on your face. The way your green eyes are slightly more jade than what is common. How your lips twitch a bit when you look at me, especially lately. A part of me wonders whats going on under all that curly red hair, in your head.

You told me about the flower today. About how you watched the flower outside of your window, on the magnolia tree. You watched it blossom, the pink center exposing at the last minute before it was taken by the wind. When you explained, your eyes held the utmost sadness. The flower was too beautiful to be taken away, but would be replaced by another. You explained the process in your own words, really grasping onto the scientific process of it all. The flower was biologically constructed to die when it was the most beautiful. It would be blindsided, replaced by a young seedling without warning. So tragic, yet so fitting.

I can see the patchwork quilt on my bed through the door, which is wide open. The sunlight seems invasive to me today; it is far too bright and I'm far too pensive. I can hear simple strums of an acoustic guitar from somewhere in our building. There was another danger, the paper-thin walls. You could literally hear everything that your neighbor was thinking, doing, feeling, seeing and touching. It was that last one that made our predicament so difficult. We had done too much in the touching realm to be considered 'experimental' by most standards, which scared us.

'Tell me,' you say. You're still asleep, as far as I can see. I begin to open my mouth, to explain my feelings. This nothingness, this great divide that exists between our brain and our hearts seems... almost invisible. At this exact moment in time, you are mine. Your top lip starts twitching, and I hope that it's because you're dreaming of me. Look at me! I'm sitting here, writing a human Hallmark Greeting in my head like a love-struck sixth grader! It dawned on me then at that moment. This is the reason you're here, because I'm not a girl. My feminine qualities become a threat in this war that loving you has become. I take deeper breaths, I soften my spine to appear less poised. My years of training in ballet serve no purpose here when I'm next to you. I let my eyes wander, travelling down the comforter and to the grey tiled floor. My eyes focus back on your face. I jump and gasp, because your eyes are now open.

"How long have I been asleep?"

"Not long, I don't think."

"Have you just been lying here?" Your eyebrows arch, waiting for my answer.

"Yeah, I was just thinking about life," I feel my blue eyes start to tear. I swallow it back quickly. I jerk my head back quickly, attempting to shake the blond hair out of my face.

"Pretty blue eyes don't hide things well," your mouth is smiling. Your top lip twitches, ever so slightly.
"I'm confused about this. About us. About you, and me, and everything."

Your brow furrows now. You might be angry, but I bet you're as confused as I am.

I bite my lip, silently begging you to answer all the questions I'm too scared to ask. I receive the smallest of answers, your hand at the small of my back. I'm literally six inches from your face. I receive a very unpredictable blow of confidence, something that happens quite rarely in my body. I use the muscles in my abdomen to make up that space, putting my face directly next to yours. The hand on my back becomes forceful, pulling me near you. A new realization emerges: I am afraid to kiss you.

"Do you love me?" you ask, relaxing onto the pillow. The tension is gone now. I let myself rest on the mattress. I see your eyes now, too happy for this moment. I wonder if this is just a happening for you. If I'm just another flower in the wind.

"I love how it feels to be here," I reply. I don't want you to depend on me like that yet. I don't want you to know. The next thing I feel is you kissing me. It is alright when you initiate, because I have no choice. I believe that I haven't kissed you yet, as far as I can remember. And I won't ever. Not if it's up to me.

The next thing I hear is your phone ringing. I sneak a peak at the screen before you hit the green button. It's her.

"Hey, babe..."

I stare out your window as you talk, afraid to audibly breathe.. My eyes fall on the magnolia tree, on a new blossom that hadn't quite opened yet. I willed it to open, to end it's menial existence.

"I have a lot of homework tonight, babe."

You'd told me that sentence a thousand times, just as you have to her. Was every time an excuse to kiss her? I usually didn't examine people's motives, due to a lack of interest. This time, I was intrigued because of the circumstances that made Lucy and I each other's understudies in your life. You talked a bit more, explaining exactly how bad you missed her eyes. I rolled mine, because you swore blue was your favorite. She had brown eyes, deep and reflective.

Who were you, truly? Were you the boy that fell in love with a brown haired girl from Memphis? The boy whose first kiss was during an Interpol concert in Chicago? The boy who loved to burn his pizza at the edges because he liked the crunchiness? Were you the boy who told her you loved her on your birthday? Were you the boy you told her you are?

I've never met this boy, he is a stranger to me. This blow was blown away in the wind, only to be re-seeded and emerging like a phoenix.

"I love you," you say as I continue to look out the window. I hate when you tell her that, because it makes me realize how much I feel for you.


I turn, realizing you weren't on the phone. You had just told me everything I thought you had said to her. Your phone buzzed, signaling that you had a voicemail. You hadn't even picked up the phone. I had never won this battle before, and I never thought I would. When she called, I didn't exist, because you and I weren't 'together'. I thought that I didn't really exist to you, like I was a figment of your imagination.

"Please say something!" Your green eyes pleaded with me. I realized at that moment that nothing mattered to me. Not the fact that you sunburned each time you stepped outside. Nor the fact that you woke up to use the bathroom every hour of the night, or how you like to ruin the ends of movies before I've seen them. I didn't care in the least that you failed calculus twice, because you didn't understand math. Also, I never judged the fact that you can't roll your R's when speaking Spanish. The only thing that mattered was that you were mine, in this exact moment of time. The neighbor started strumming a tune I knew, an original song that he'd played at an open mic night last semester. I had no words to say to you, because I was horrible with being open. The only thing I knew to do was to sing the words along with the music.

"A flower doesn't smell when you're not around, the rain always falls with a sound. Don't feel alive when you're not here with me, I always feel your senses of propriety. You write in your letters with loops at the top, your stamp on my heart so it'll never stop. Loving you is my reason, don't need another. I'll kiss you twice, just to be a bother. I'll fight with you so I can see you cry, I'll live your dreams so they won't have to die. You don't need to explain why you're so quiet. I won't take your money, my heart, you can't buy it. I love you today, I'll love you again. You're the only thing that I'll never completely understand. Just stay with me. Oh stay with me. Please stay with me. You'll stay..."

My cheeks flushed red, because I'd said to much. You hadn't said a word, though many seconds had passed. I got up, smoothing my white undershirt. I started to walk towards your door, back across the hall to my room. I wanted to put on shoes and go outside, for a walk or a run. I wanted to drive and swim and leap somewhere other than this apartment. I wanted to be far away from this shame. Every fear of mine was validated in your silence.

I found two socks that didn't match, and quickly put them on. I didn't bother tying my running shoes, just slipping them on and grabbing my keys. I didn't look towards your door as I walked down the small hallway to entrance. I ran down the stairs in an indistinguishable amount of time, and threw the front door of the building open. The air filled my nostrils and I broke into a run, not even thinking of a destination.

I ended up outside of town, at a small cemetery. My breath ran out as I stopped, and I realized how hard I'd been running. The tears sprang, because of the security of my solitude. I'd never before felt as though I could tell my feelings, and now that I had all I felt was regret. The morbidity that lurked in the small field of the dead was overshadowed by my wounded pride. I collapsed next to a small stone covered in moss and age, willing myself to run back home.

There is no end to this story, because I can't bring myself to believe it. Of course I ran back home after awhile, maybe it was ten minutes from when I collapsed and maybe it was hours later. I walked up the stairs and undressed, showering off the sweat, grime and feeling of helplessness. I may have gone into your room and kissed you for the first time, I may have gone back to my room and locked the door. You might've knocked, apologizing for the mistakes we'd both made. You might've realized how much you loved Lucy after I left and called her. She may have been sitting on the couch as I arrived back. I could've told her about us, forcing her to walk out and never speak to you again. Maybe I said nothing, attending your future wedding as a groomsman in a tux. Maybe you loved me, and maybe you didn't. Maybe I was the biggest mistake you ever made. Maybe I was the last person you saw in your life, maybe I was the first. And maybe, just maybe... My love was the only thing that kept you alive.

Sparrow Crain is a 22 year old aspiring model and writer with a penchant for the dramatic. At 15, he moved to New Orleans to pursue modeling full-time. Three weeks later, Hurricane Katrina happened. After being rescued and moving back home, severe floods ravaged his hometown. He is now fully convinced that he is a bad omen for weather.