Failed Attempts | Original Story (from a 5-Minute-FreeWrite)

It took José a lot of courage to put aside all his apprehensions and fears to approach the flower vendors.

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Failed Attempts


It took José a lot of courage to put aside all his apprehensions and fears to approach the flower vendors. After his wife cheated on him, he had lost faith in romance and love. He used to make fun of any man he saw in the streets walking with flowers or present arrangements for special occasions, especially Valentine’s Day.

Time passed and he fell in love again. He was determined to correct whatever went wrong that could have been attributed to him. He would start by remembering dates and making certain dates special. Today was one of those. This was his second attempt at buying flowers and also at finding happiness.

He had not felt the same sense of embarrassment since his teenage years buying condoms at drugstores. He felt watched, scrutinized. He had lied at his girlfriend. He was supposed to be working. One more regular day, busy until the evening.

It was really hot, almost noon. No many customers around. The flower girl was very nice, as they usually are; they usually flirt with customers so they would buy even what they did not intend to. Romance was in frank decline. Most flower customers were trying to atone for love postponed, never delivered. Their flowers were meant for loved ones who would not see, feel, or smell them.

Jose’s flowers, on the contrary, were meant for a very alive girl; one who would surely appreciate the gesture. He was sure he would earn some points with this leap of faith.

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He rushed to pay and started walking home. The challenge could not have been more daring. He had to walk through downtown at rush hour. He started to think about what some people might think of him, just the same way he made up stories about the carriers of those fragrant packages. He zig-zaged among the crowd finding some comfort in the partial anonymity of the face mask and hat that were now part of his attire.

He decided to go down the parallel alleys, the ones few people walked lest they’d be mugged or worst. He stopped being afraid of death when his first love died. That sense of detachment had prevailed and stayed with him. As he entered one of this less traveled streets, he stopped at a passing car. He knew this car. He also recognized the passenger in the front seat. It was his girlfriend. She did not notice him; she was laughing her sensuous laugh, while she shared glances and furtive touches with the driver.

“I guess she also lied,” he thought.

He kept walking; it felt more like staggering. His whole body was shaking. He was pulled out his misery by a female voice. It was a rather mature woman, probably in her late 50s. She was wearing the kind of granny dress women are usually embarrassed to be seen in, especially by people not closed to them. This woman looked like someone who stopped caring about what people thought of her some decades ago. She was talking to a young woman in front of her house. She noticed the flowers and looked at the Romeo flirtatiously. “If your wife does not want them, you can give them to me.”

José stopped for a second, laughed, looked at the flowers, then at the woman, who was now laughing hysterically at her own audacity. “Actually, you can keep them,” he said, and kept walking, slowly still, but with the lightness of someone resealed from a great burden.

Thanks for stopping by and reading.

This was my entry to @mariannewest and @latino.romano’s 5 Minute Freewrite: Wednesday Prompt: second attempt. You can see the details here.

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