A BOUQUET TO DIE FOR
Who would have thought something as beautiful as flowers would be so deadly?
I’ve always had a thing for wild flowers.
Whenever I was sent on an errand, I would make sure I picked as many as I could. Yellow, blue, red, orange, pink… the brighter, the better. I crafted little strange bouquets that I hung in the corners of my room, until my mum threw out the dried up remains. But I always picked more. They made me happy.
As I grew bigger, my wild bouquets did as well, and my mum put her foot down. No more smelly flowers in the house. She wasn’t wrong. My preferences had matured to a particular flower- and it did smell a bit weird. But it was a scent I associated with my first kiss. He had been all hands and hot breath, but I had closed my eyes and let him lower me into the grass. Our tumbling crushed a few blossoms and a few weeks later, after I had decided I really didn’t like boys, I came across the scent again. And so began my fascination with that particular flower.
Since mother’s ban, I began to hang my flowers on the chain link fence that surrounded the children’s park next to my school. The species of blossom I liked came in blues and pinks, but I preferred the pinks and made sure I left a few hanging every Friday when I was walking home from school.
Then I began to notice that someone was hanging up blue flowers beside my pink ones.
I was delighted. Apparently, I was not alone in the world. I spent hours wondering what my flower-lover looked like. Was it a he? Was he tall? Did he have kind eyes? As the harmattan season approached, there were fewer children in the park most Fridays when I stopped by. I barely noticed, lost in fantasies of my mystery lover. It had become a contest of sorts, getting the pink flowers to be more than the blue. Our bouquet grew, dead flowers falling away to be replaced by new blossoms we both carefully hung on the fence.
And on Christmas day, I suddenly realized I could drop him a note! Surely he would reply. I stopped by the park on my way to deliver Christmas rice to Mrs Nelson, a friend of my mother’s who recently lost a child. I was happy to go; she needed all the cheer she could get.
With a big grin, i hung my newest bouquet, propping a perfumed note between the petals. And on my way back home, I noticed the note was gone. I was excited. The next Friday was New Year’s day. Maybe he would leave a reply.
And he did.
Deep within a bunch of blue blossoms, I found his note.
I was delighted to see your message. I think it’s about time we met. It has been fun…our little game. Pink for girls. Blue for boys. As the harmattan approached, it was harder to find the flowers. And the boys. And the girls. But for the sake of our friendship, I kept to the numbers. Every pink flower for a girl and every blue flower for a boy. Maybe next Friday, I’ll tell you where I kept their bodies.
Yours in Flowery Friendship, A Fan.”
I stood there with the note in my numb hands and shivered as the wind brought the smell of the flowers to my nose. Now, I understood why the park had slowly gotten less full. Now I understood where the kids had gone.
Who would have thought something as beautiful as flowers could be so deadly?