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The Prompt File - 4. Special Anniversary Prompt #1

Anniversaries are always something special and unusual. What makes the one you are attending that way?

On Valentine’s Day when I was thirteen I received my first flowers – a small bouquet of red and purple carnations. It was at school and it embarrassed the hell out of me, especially since the card only said, “Love is Unpredictable” and was unsigned.

One of the clubs even sold them for the occasion so boys sent them to their girlfriends for the holiday, and girls sent them to boys they liked as well. In fact, some people saw it as a popularity contest to see who could collect the most by the end of the day. My best friend, Toby, delivered my flowers that day. I think he blushed as much as I did.

The next year I received the two carnations – red and purple – as well as a very pretty white flower. This time there was a card. It read, “Love is Happiness”. I knew the clubs didn’t sell anything but the carnations with a sprig of baby’s breath. Toby told me. He was in the club that sold them. I later found out (thanks mom) they were called Lily of the Valley and, “they aren’t cheap”.

At fifteen, my bouquet grew by one more flower – a large sunflower – and a card, “Love is Loyal”. Toby didn’t deliver this one, he had gone to college. I missed him and couldn’t wait until summer vacation to see him.

That was the summer Toby told me he had fallen in love. I wanted to be angry at him; especially when he left early to go back and be with her. I was so confused.

They had dated off and on for nearly a year and around Christmas he found out he was going to be a father. Toby’s brother, Nels, managed to get leave long enough to witness his younger brother’s nuptials. He handled the bachelor party, which I was not allowed to attend. I was so angry at Toby for moving on with his life when I didn’t even know if my life would take me down the same road that I wanted to scream and rant and rave. Instead, I stood by his side as he married the mother of his soon to be child. I wanted to bash her face in. Instead I toasted their health and happiness. Besides it wouldn’t be polite in front of Toby’s family, especially Nels.

I had the worst crush on Nels when I was first discovering my sexuality. I never said anything to anyone but I would go into his room when I visited Toby and take things from his laundry – socks, jocks, sometimes even his practice jersey. I would keep them until they no longer smelled like him then take them back. At the time I wasn’t sure what it meant but this time when I saw him… I knew. God I knew. And the Army had been good to him. Really good.

I received another bouquet that year – two carnations, a lily of the valley, a sunflower, and a blue hydrangea. The card read, “Love is Graceful in Understanding”.

I still didn’t know who was sending them. I wasn’t the most popular kid in school. If fact, I was rather low on the popularity totem pole. Well not the greasy headed, rarely showers low… or AV club low… but let’s just say I had never been picked first for anything. I guess you could say I was one of those kids who was there – the one that people knew as the kid in their English class and they might even know them by name, but they rarely blipped on anyone’s radar.

My last year of public school brought a bouquet that included Daisies. They were delivered with a card that read, “Love is Pure”.

Graduation came and I was off to college. It wasn’t really private knowledge which school I had picked, but it wasn’t all that public either. I mean a couple close friends knew. So I didn’t expect the teleflora delivery of my bouquet with the addition of Callas, “Love is Beautiful.”.

Freesia arrived the next year, “Love is Innocent”. And so was I but it hadn’t been from a lack of trying, more like a lack of carry through. I had tried to have a few relationships, but most of them wanted sex, or at least expected it by the third date. I wanted to, but it felt wrong. Their ‘I love you’s were not what love had come to mean to me. I had yet to tell anyone I loved them. Sure I had a few crushes but to call it love?

Then lilacs in a spray of purple among the other flowers showed up with a card that read, “Love is knowing and loving anyway”.

My senior year I returned to my dorm to find a single flower towering above the others in a vase. It was a Bird of Paradise. The card read, “Love is Freedom.” I think that was when I realized I was in love. I just didn’t know with whom. I left school still very much confused when it came to my sexuality.

It had been a long time since I had seen Toby with years of only social media, skype, and email keeping us in touch. Our lives had taken very different turns but my best friend was still my best friend. He and his wife and their two kids had moved to a different city a few years before where Toby had gotten a good job. I had a standing offer to come by whenever I could, but hadn’t because of school. So I went.

I didn’t expect that Nels would be there, but his presence wasn’t unwelcome. After eight years in the Army he was finally home. Toby had kept me informed about his career. He earned a degree while serving and had done quite well for himself. Toby thought he would make a career out of it, but it appeared Nels had other plans. He had also taken a position in the same city as his brother, ‘to be near family’.

We ended up BBQing and catching up. It wasn’t until well after dark that I realized I had a dilemma. Toby had no guest rooms and I had no hotel reservations. So he suggested I stay with Nels. It seemed like a good solution, so I went.

At the door he paused, smiled at me, and blushed.

I blushed too. I don’t know why. I was just spending the night, probably on the couch, but it was better than nothing. Except when the door opened I could see it was a barebones studio.

“I’ll take the floor,” he said.

“There’s room on the bed for two,” I said. It was large, at least a queen, maybe even a king.

Nothing else was said as we stripped down and lay down. Nothing was said later, either, when our bodies joined and I discovered the physical side of love.

In the morning there was a knock on the door. Nels was in the shower so I answered it. It was a teleflorist with my bouquet. Red roses had joined the rest. The card read, “Love is…”.

I sat the vase down and joined the man who loved me in the shower. Then I showed him how much I loved him in return.

Copyright © 2012 Lugh; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Yeah, you are writing again. I loved this story. You had a nice smooth progression that showed how for years he had someone who loved him but gave him room to grow into being a man. Very sweet tale Lugh.

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  • Site Administrator

You had me wondering through the entire story just who it was sending the flowers. I really enjoyed the way you wrapped it up in the end. Great job hon, though why I would expect any less I don't know :). You always manage to pull me into your stories, no matter how long or short :)

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