Sunflowers and Roses

“I wish the timing had been better,” I said. I looked at the roses he gave me. I preferred sunflowers.

“It’s not about the timing,” Sean said. “It’s about what’s right for us.” It had been a year since I’d seen him, but he still talked in that same convincing way that would have anyone ready to  believe what he said was true.

“I’m engaged,” I said. “I can’t just walk away from him.”

“Yes you can.”

“It’s not that simple.”

“Why not? Tell him you can’t marry him because you love someone else.”

“I do love him.”

“You said you loved me.”

“I did. But you were never there. Nathan was.”

He looked away and ran his fingers though his hair. “What does that mean for us then?”

I gave the roses back to him. “It means we can’t be together.”


Eight months prior

We’d always be together. That’s what I thought. But here I was laying in a hospital bed with nothing but his rushed emails to keep me company.  You’d think he’d write more since he was a journalist. But maybe he was tired of writing after doing it all day. He was probably suffering from jet lag when he wrote them. The travel magazine he worked for kept him going from place to place. Which is why he wasn’t with me during the surgery.

It all happened so fast. The test came back positive for cancer. The operation was scheduled to remove it.

The doctors said everything went well, and here I was resting in a hospital room alone until I fully recovered and could go home.

There was a knock on the door, and in came that man from this morning, Nathan. He wasn’t as tall as Sean, but his smile made him seem 6’2. It also chased away my gloomy thoughts.

“I brought you this,” Nathan said, producing a rose from behind his back.

“Oh, you didn’t have to,” I said, but I was touched he’d come all the back here to bring me the rose. This morning he’d come in with a sunflower and a small get-well-soon card. I thought he had the wrong room, but he explained that he passed out flowers and cards to people in the hospital on the weekends. He had cancer himself when he was a teen, and ever since then would bring people in the hospital flowers. As we talked, I mentioned that my favorite flowers were roses.

“Well a favorite flower cheers a person up double the amount of just any other flower,” Nathan said, slipping the rose in the glass jar beside the sunflower.

“Does this mean you’ll be taking the sunflower somewhere else?” I joked. I was smiling for the first time since he left this morning.

“I guess since you’re so pretty, you can have both.” He winked.

I blushed, but enjoyed the compliment. For the first time since Sean left, I didn’t feel alone. I looked at the two flowers setting beside each other in the jar. I was surprised to find myself liking the sunflower more. Maybe my favorites were changing.



 Hey Epic Dreamers! This was yet another installment of the 13 Week Streak – Summer Flash Fiction Challenge.     I hope you’re enjoying these small stories.

7 thoughts on “Sunflowers and Roses

  1. How sweet of him to pay it forward that way. The boyfriend was a loser; cancer beats work, jetlag, and anything else, as far as I’m concerned. This was a great little story!

    My only critique would be to watch where you’re ending your sentences, because some of them are leaving fragments behind, such as: “The travel magazine he worked for kept him going from place to place. Which is why he wasn’t with me during the surgery.” The second sentence needs to be a part of the first, because by itself, it’s not whole.

    Otherwise loved this story. I always enjoy happy endings, especially when they could have turned a different way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for pointing that out! I like helpful critiques. 🙂 I’ll definitely keep an eye out for that next time.
      Yes, he most certainly is not a keeper. He’s a bit too concerned with his own life to be a part of anyone else’s.
      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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