#16. flower patterns

*Trigger warning: suicidal attempt

What’s that on his wrist? I ask Becky as the three of us advanced further and further in the spring forest.

Oh, that? You don’t know that? It’s a flower pattern.

I look at the thin line that is more similar to a scar than a flower pattern to me and wonder where have I seen it before.

You know what I think, Becky? I think it’s a scar, I say my thought aloud. The White Misty Thingy withdraws his hand from mine, and it looks like he is checking the truth of what I just said. Then he curls his little foggy fingers around mine again as if nothing’s ever happened. As if I had made a mistake, and that the thin line was actually a flower pattern.

I don’t give shit names, you know, Becky growls slightly in her throat, It’s him.

Do you know what’s on her wrist? The Lover asks me as he sits by my side, watching the same fucking show about the suicide of the same fucking woman a thousand fucking times.

Why should I care what’s that called? Isn’t she just dead? Don’t complicate the matter.

The Lover giggles and leans his head against my chest. His hair smells like fresh pomelo flowers. I take a swift and can imagine myself buried inside him beneath the shade of greens in a spring forest. Come to me, darling, come to me, he whispers in my ear and nibs at it gently. And I come to him right away. I am at his beck and call any days.

Don’t complicate the matter, you say. But ain’t the dead as important as the living? Or else, who would remember me after I’m gone?

Why would you care if someone will remember you or not? You’re dead and you’re dead, ain’t it? That’s the end, I grumble a little as I buried my nose inside his ravenous hair, which has grown just a tiny bit longer since he stopped going to the corner barber shop three months ago. Said the barber scared him. Said the razor scared him. Said everything scared him. But all that never matters as long as I can still bury my nose in this heaven of blissful spring forest and the smell of fresh pomelo flowers.

Really? He looks at me and leans in closer. His nose almost touches mine. It is a breath’s distance, Would you really not care? If I’m dead, would you really not care? He rubs his nose against mine ever so slowly, ever so gently.

I would care, I say, wrapping my arm around his broad and thin back, I would care so damn much.

And as always, just when I lean in close enough for a kiss, my breath on his thin pale pink lips, his breath on my thick, dark ones, he pulls away.

Then you should answer the question, he curls himself to the other end of the sofa.

I already answer though, I chase after his shadow and pull at his minsk blanket. Stop, he says, giggling, but that never stops me. The blanket falls to the door. The scent of fresh pomelo flowers is in between us and everywhere.

Darling, do you know what that thin line on her wrist is called? He says as he bite on my lower lips and surrender his to my control. What? I say breathlessly, biting his sweet, sweet collarbones, which are protruding out more and more as the food scares him, What, my darling?

It’s called a flower pattern.

I remember Becky was in the corner of the living room at the time. Was she asleep? Was she awake? I don’t know. I don’t know if she was on her bed or just building a nest for herself using our clothes. I don’t know why a scar is not a scar. I don’t even know what the name “flower pattern” refers to.

Because just like Becky, I don’t give shit names.

What’s flower pattern?

Same, man, what the fuck is a flower pattern? You humans are weird. Me, I call it a flower when I see a flower. I call it a scar when I see a scar.

Yeah, I say, Yeah, that would seem to be the most reasonable action to take, but –

I look down at Becky. I’m getting more and more used to her rude way of talking. I wonder if all cats are like that if they speak: the same rude way to humans, whether they are female or male. I guess being ladylike doesn’t mean shit to cats. And I guess like Becky, labels are just that: words among a thousand words.

What’s flower pattern? I ask The Lover as we lay side by side. My hand measures how thin he has gotten across the shoulders and then, across the chest.

Why asking now? He says as he trying in vain to stop the invasion of my stubborn fingers.

Curiosity, I reply, my hand never stops moving, my fingers dance around his pale pink areola. Why is everything about him so pale, so frail, so fragile?

If I had the answer then, none of this would happen, I guess.

No shit, man, Becky curses again, ruder and ruder amidst the thin fog and the multitude of dewdrops. Is it dust? Is it dawn? I guess it never matters.

If only I had the answer then –

Nothing would change, man, nothing would change.

And is that what the name “flower pattern” means?

I don’t know, but very likely. Something that’s beautiful –

Because it reflects the sadness of life and the strength of humans against the futile fight.

True, man, true.

What’s that on your wrist? Oh my God, what the fuck are you doing to yourself?

Why are you freaking out? The Lover smiles weakly as his life spills out from the deep cut that is slowly building a border between his living and his dying, It’s only a flower pattern.

He touches my hair and ruffles it ever so lightly, ever so deadly.

Come here to me, baby, come here.

I’m here, I say, trying to stop the blood from flowing and the tears from flooding this whole memory away, I’m here, darling, I’m here.

Don’t you worry, he smiles as I pick him up and run full speed to the ambulance, Don’t you worry. It was but a flower pattern.

You know what I think, dearest Becky?

I, sir, of course don’t know what you think, and please spare me the word “dearest.”

I think that flowers are not beautiful. They always bring me such sadness. No matter how bright and pretty they are, they die too quickly. And what do people do when they die, Becky?

They mourn, obviously. They mourn the death of all the pretty flowers, I dare say. But man, they sometimes would die for their flowers, too.

Then what about the flower patterns?

What about them?

Do they ever survive? Do they ever heal?

Becky finally looks at me. It’s strange how her figure grows more invisible as The White Misty Thingy’s grows more visible. She smiles for the first time, or it’s just me hallucinating her smile because I can barely distinguish her from the fog in the forest at this moment. With a sad resolve, she says, Yes, they do, man. Yes, they do.

Author: Thanh Dinh

A writer at heart. A pessimist on the brain. I am always on the great journey of finding what it means to be living.

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