Fondly: Stem


I felt like such a fool.

Wandering around, alone and helpless, desperately trying to save, or at the very least salvage what was, by this point, little more than a stem.

It was a rose when I bought it.

I was flustered, I was frustrated and I was hurt. But mostly, I was lost in a city that would never be mine, searching for a girl that was just the same.

Cold, confusing, and utterly charming…

…and probably, ultimately, unattainable.

Though the same could be said of me, most of the time.


It wasn’t that she couldn’t wait, or couldn’t help me find my way…It was that she didn’t seem to care if I did or not.

I knew she was distracted. I knew how she got before performing. My rational side was quietly telling me not to read into anything. Not to look for a hidden meaning or sign.

But those blinking lights always screamed quite the opposite.

And hers were blinking, too, maybe even brighter.

So we fought. By way of overtly concise cell phone conversation(s) ending with us taking turns hanging up on one another, and increasingly sardonic texts. It wasn’t the first argument, and probably wouldn’t be the last.

At least I hoped not.

I hated it. I knew what was happening, and could only watch from the back of my head, as things spiraled further out of control. Every time one of us responded, it only escalated more. She was nervous, and I was scared. Our lights were blinking out of sync.

I knew this would affect her, her performance, her mood. It was affecting me, too, and I hated it.

Worst of all, it would have an affect on what little time we had together before I had to make my long, lonely, midnight drive back home, probably still unsure which one of us was the asshole.

The truth neither of us could see, is that we were both the asshole; we were both being selfish.

I just wished I could hit some magic reset button.

I felt so lost, so helpless, as I relied on the kindness of strangers, a rare trait in this city.

I started having a panic attack as I desperately made my way to her.

I was helpless to my location, my emotions, and situation at large.

You would think I’d be used to being so lost by now. That, is, after all, how I’ve spent the majority of my life.


I arrived just in time to see her for a moment, before she vanished backstage to wait for her turn to perform.

Our eyes met through the loud, crowded lobby as I stood there, holding nothing but a stem.

It was a rose when I bought it.

She looked down at the stem, then back into my eyes.

She smiled and squeezed my hand. Once. Twice. Three times. It was our secret, private way of saying, “I love you.”

Perhaps this is why I loved her so much—I didn’t feel lost when I was with her.

I felt like I knew where I was, and more importantly, why, if only for that brief moment we were together.

I handed her the stem and squeezed her hand.

One, two, three, four.

It was a rose when I bought it.



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