The scent is sharp and sweet. Calming, yet.
Not the pretty perfect flowers. She loves the flawed ones. This one’s cream-petalled, pale pink fingers inwards. Woodbine.
Two minutes. That’s how long it took me to spot her.
The white petals curve toward the center. Held back by the shape.
It hits home.
Me. Held back from my true feelings. By “what’s supposed to be”.
Two days. I was drawn. Two weeks. I talked to her. Two months. That’s how long it took for us to become best friends.
Two seconds. That’s how long it takes for the words to freeze in my mouth.
I feel like she’s listening to the silent storm inside.
A bad taste spreads through my mouth, the words reduced to echoes, tears in the night.
The nights are the worst. I can’t tell myself it’s enough just being best friends, like “we’re supposed to be”. The mask suffocates. Tears, then.
I avert my gaze from her deep eyes, looking at the woodbine. My trembling fingers stroke the petals.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” My voice cracks.
“It is, Rosie,” she says.
My eyes flutter close.
I love you. More than as a friend. I realized it when I first saw you. That I’m drawn to girls, not boys. I love you. But do you? Do you love me?
Her fingers clasped in mine, we walk along the path, heavy gray clouds gathering in the skies. I like it, I like storms. The sky screams “I wanna say something and it’s okay if you don’t listen, I’ll say it anyway!” This is where I first came out to her. Or anyone. Some people support me, some don’t. But I’m proud. This is my identity.
I remember the woodbine most vividly. Its scent sends a shiver of the memory through me.
“What are you thinking of?” she asks.
I smile. “I read a haiku a while ago.
Woodbine – a love that clings
A heavenly smell –
Till death do us part.“
“Till death do us part,” she whispers, before leaning in to kiss me.