My flowers are dying

by Therese Temitayo

My flowers are dying. I know that they’re dying because I’m watching them die.  

They were dying three days ago when I first sat down on the couch, petals tilted low like the last peel on a banana. They were dying two days ago when it became painful to move from my crevice on the couch, my sweat cementing me down. They were dying yesterday when the rain forced its way through my open window, shooting not far enough to water my flowers; not far enough to unglue me from this fly trap. 

They are dying today, too. My flowers are dying and I need to change their water. They’re dying as I make the effort to lift my arm, digging my palm into the groove of the arm rest and forcing my heavy body up. My back feels bare, as if the skin has been ripped off, new layers hitting air for the first time. 

They’re dying as I take a step to the kitchen, bones clattering and rubbing against my joints, reawakened and conscious for the first time. They’re dying and my chest feels heavy, fed up with all the beating, and I have to stop walking because my stomach wakes up screaming and my head decides to scream at the same time, and my bones have stopped clattering and started revving and so I turn and run to the bathroom and dry heave. 

My flowers are dying and I’m dry heaving over the toilet, my heart running over to see what’s happened, standing next to my brain as they work in tandem to answer the question What’s wrong? as if a mirror wouldn’t solve that problem. 

My flowers are dying as I ascend from the toilet to the sink, flipping up the faucet. My stomach is still screaming as I pool the cool liquid in the palm of my hands – a peace offering. My flowers are dying and I splash water on my face, the elixir soaking into my skin, dripping down my nose. 

My flowers are dying as I shut my lips tight, afraid my stomach might jump out and beg for a taste. My flowers are dying as my tongue begins to cry, deserted and starving, but I ignore its cry until it settles, water trickling past my closed lips – past the unfed.

They are still dying as the excess droplets run down my cheeks and back into the sink as I look down, watching the droplets combine into one big drop. In the reflection, I see the pitiful look returned to me tenfold. 

My flowers are dying when I turn off the faucet, water hiding from my drought, slipping into the darkness of the tap. My flowers are still dying as I make my way back to the living room, stopping just to stare at them back. 

My flowers watch as my stomach roars, my tongue cries, my bones rattle. My flowers watch as my heart decides to beat frantically, only for a moment, as if startled to be acknowledged; my head peels back like a banana, splitting at its ends, brain naked and open. 

Their eyes refuse to blink, as if, either seeing me for the first time or seeing me for the last, our gaze is the same – an undivided conclusion. 

My flowers are dying, I understand that. 

I understand that as I make my way back to my awaiting throne. 

I understand that as I settle back into the grave I’ve carved out for myself, my body back where it belongs. 

My flowers stare at me as I stare at them as we think:

My flowers are dying. I know that because I’m watching them die.

Therese Temitayo is a down-on-their-luck twenty-something-year-old from the depths of Manhattan, New York. When they’re not writing or working, they are sleeping and dreaming up their next wild story idea.