Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Let Yourself Bloom

"Well, damn."

He couldn't tell the difference anymore. He inspected every inch of his composure with slow, robotic motions, twisting his head from right to left and tilting it up and down. Finally David harrumphed, eyes locked with his reflection. Maybe he was just imagining it, maybe it was just the light, or maybe he was just jaundiced, but he could almost swear he was turning a distinct shade of yellow. He gave one last glare to his mirror doppelganger before he flicked off the harsh yellow light of the bathroom. He sulked in the sudden darkness. Perhaps he'd check in his truck's rear view mirror later.

That thought made him let out a short, bark of a laugh. He could use his truck, if only it wasn't in the shade. David supposed it was in the shade, at least. Something told him it would be pretty dark under a mountain of rubble and years of littering. Then again, that's where most things around his house had gone after the earthquakes. Perhaps a streetlight was still working down there. He caught a glimpse of light streaming in from the window behind him and turned around. He sighed, stirring up motes of dust as he stared at the windowsill’s scene of devastated vegetation.

"Now, you and I have to talk about this 'wilting' thing that you've gotten into..."

The syllables came out rough and hollow. Grimacing, he coughed to clear his throat as he tip-toed about the small bathroom. His hands groped around in the dim light until finally settled upon a small watering pitcher. David turned his eyes to the water faucet and the lines under his eyes softened for a moment. At least the 'quakes hadn't hit the water lines.

"I'm telling you, it's just a trend, and if you really want the other plants to think you're neat, you need to just be yourself."

He chortled, turning to the faucet and twisting the dirty knobs above the sink until a trickle of clean water poured down into the pitcher. His eyes glistened as he watched the sunlight strike the water, making it sparkle as it trickled out of the faucet. The water ceased its flow and David caught the last few droplets in the pitcher with care. He looked back up, pitcher in hand, smiled at his plants, and in his mind they smiled back. The pitcher lifted in his hands, tilting to let the water play across the dirt of each one of the pots. His mind imagined the roots shivering like a couple caught in a downpour.

"I mean, just look at me! I don't change one whit of myself for anyone, and I have friends!"

He splashed the excess water over his rough hands. It seeped into his cracked skin with a refreshing coolness, making David flex the muscles underneath with a slow methodical persistence. His hands flew to his sides as he stretched which caused his back to make a satisfying cracking sound before flipping the lights back on and looking into the mirror again. His reflection glared back. The skin below his eyes drooped, the dark bags adding to the illusion that he was just a large, bruised, and browning banana. The mirror brought his countenance into sharp definition as he leaned forward. A grin inched across his face as he inspected his surprisingly white teeth, fingers pulling the edge of his mouth to one side, and then the other.

His fingers faltered and began to fall to his sides. Only the wide, rigid grin was left upon his face. His hands slapped against the sides of his legs, limp. For a few ponderous heartbeats he stood as if in a daze. In a sudden act of animation, his back shivered sporadically from the growing warmth as the sun crept up his spine; the grin, which at first had seemed to be etched onto his gruff visage, melted easily into a soft, reproachful smile.

"You just gotta let yourself bloom."

No comments: