He asks me my favorite flower, and I don’t hesitate. Sunflower. Bold. Bright. Brilliant. His eyebrows furrow, ‘Why not a rose?’ He shifts his hands to a spiked stem, grazes his fingertips over velvet petals. His touch implies their beauty, their danger, their poise. The way you can admire from a distance, but never get too close.
But I have never been a rose.
I have never been perfectly folded petals, turning in instead of out. I have never been thorns around my heart.
I have always been a sunflower, stretching, reaching, opening. Unafraid.
Yes, if I could be a flower, I’d be that sunflower. Tender and sweet, yet resilient. Able to grow in any situation simply by finding the light. Known for its healing. Known for opening, for turning its face to the sun.
He shrugs his shoulders and lets the stem fall back into its water casing. We move about the store in silence, two bodies moving yet disconnected somehow. He soon forgets the words that left my lips, their unconscious weight. A few weeks later, after I unintentionally break his heart, he hands me three sunflowers.
‘For you,’ he says, ‘your favorite.’
Yes, I was always meant to be bold, to be tall, to stand on my own.