This story was featured along with the very first publication of Fire in the Sky. For those few people out there that have a copy of that edition….I’m sorry. Mainly for the typos and flaws that filled the pages. Anyway, have yourself a read:
She never had a chance. She realized this as she sat in the bus station, holding a black rose and waiting for something, anything, to take her away from where she was. The blue-brown-green ocean made its constant trot toward the sand and rocks across the road. Fish leapt out of the moving glass to taunt the sea birds overhead. Silently the rose sat with its black petals reaching up to her, spinning back and forth in her delicate fingers.
Couples are spinning on the dance floor. Couples in beautiful gowns and suits, slink evening dresses and silk lapels all absorbed into the mass of writhing bodies and raging hormones. A beautiful woman walks through the door, all flowing hair and fabric accenting soft shapes with sharp accents. A small exchange of awkward greetings with the woman waiting for her in a masculine guise, and the two move out onto the floor as the music changes to a slow lilting rhythm. The tuxedo woman leads her date in a smooth waltz, guiding the lithe curving body around with the skills taught by a helpful roommate. Their bodies glide on the music, sped by emotion of two years finding release in the hearts, blood, sweat of the dancers.
She wiped sweat from her brow. The summer sun stared down at the station, bouncing and magnifying in the humidity. The ever present rose had begun to bend its petals ever so slightly to the ground in a tired slouch. A bus pulled up, and she looked to it, squinting from the sun.
She squints from the sun as she trudges out of the shelter of her building. The screaming of fire alarms muffle with the closing of the door and the crowd of residents piles onto the grass outside. There is no fire, there never is. She spots a friend from another building and lounges in the green beside her. The friend greets her and gestures to a woman standing nearby. Introductions are in order, and the woman smiles and shakes her hand. The image, this smile, these soft hands are taken in, and she will not be able to forget them. In the mean time they chat and laugh, interesting stories and beautiful eyes. Finally, salutations and exchange of numbers.
Numbers faded into the distance as the bus pulled away from the station. She stared after it with her spinning flower. One of the tired petals was pulled by centripetal force and fell lightly to the ground.
Clothing and gifts fall to the ground, followed by tears as she yells in sorrow at her boyfriend. Cursing and insults fly violently across the room as he spits “lesbian” and “whore” into her tear-stained face. He feels inadequate, as if it is his fault she’s leaving him for a woman. She wants to make him realize that is not the reason, that she really did love him, but she’s too angry now to do anything but shout back at him and cry. She tells him he’s immature, and he tells her to get out. Door slams and she runs crying out to her car.
A car pulled up to the station, parking with its hazards flashing while a man got out. He ran to a woman who was sitting on the other side of the station, trying desperately to ignore the man. He got down on his knee and made pleading gestures as he spoke to the woman. She stared blankly at the man until the sight of a diamond ring made her eyes widen and her lips turn up. She watched the couple walk hand-in-hand back to the car, and looked back to her wilting flower. She lightly stroked the petals and breathed in the sweet perfume.
The sweet perfume of a single black rose fills her senses with joy as she makes her way to the theatre. She is going to surprise her love at the performance, wishing her luck and giving her unending support. The ushers let her through to the backstage area, familiar faces and scenery float by while the scent of flowers mingles happily with makeup, dust, and sweat. She smiles at all the faces, but is met with looks of worry and unease. Her smile wilts around the edges. Dressing room door opens, and two people are kissing and smiling. She does not recognize the woman who is with her love, but recognizes the looks exchanged between them. They notice the sound of the door slamming, but do not see the person who left. She runs back through the maze of art and creation with her hand clutching ever tighter on the stem of the flower. Blood and tears fall as the thorns create small puncture wounds in sweating palms.
Small puncture wounds were scabbed over when dark clouds had dimmed the afternoon light. She never wanted to see her love, her muse, again. She desperately wanted her to call. In her hands the rose sat wilting. She wrapped her hand around the drooping petals and felt silk on her fingers as she tore them from their base.
She feels silk on her fingers as she strokes flowing hair spread on the pillows. Warm smile from soft lips, and she kisses them to remind herself just how soft they are. Delicate caresses of skin, breasts, hips. Lying entranced by each other, wanting to speak worlds yet never uttering a sound. She kisses neck, collarbone, sternum, and her partner arches head back and breasts high. Tease of lips and tiny moans. Soon and forever later they lie in each other’s arms. What are you thinking? I’ve waited too long to do this.
Too long. She had been sitting at the station too long, and the last bus was approaching. Droplets of water fell silently from above. Soon the sky was crying great tears for her. The bus pulled in, the door creaked open. She stood and dropped the thorn-covered stem and silk petals. She didn’t know where the bus was going. She didn’t care. She boarded silently, knowing that she never had a chance.