Short Story · Writing Exercise

The Flower Man

The flower man stands at the corner of the busy intersection surrounded by his gifts of unclaimed smiles for purchase. As he waits for new business, he waves at the people and cars whizzing by. The woman who had stopped to browse reflected on how seemingly unaffected the flower man was by the contumely demeanor that some passerby’s directed towards him. Perhaps he has some great wisdom in which he knew these glares had only to do with those wearing them and nothing to do with him, she thought. What the woman did not know is that the flower man’s smile, despite others’ demeanor, came from imagining caricatures of them in his mind. The flower man met all kinds of people each weekend. Some of his customers were without motive who had a propensity for kindness. Others were fraught with pain and seeking reconciliation. There were regulars who stopped often just to bruit about their lives. Most of his regulars were seniors within the community, retired men and women. The flower man to them was a much-welcomed friend. They chatted about their kids who rarely called, or smiled warmly as they described their skype conversation with their newest grandchild. They reminisced about their ex-partner who used to love yellow carnations. They described their frustration over their latest doctor’s visit. Behind which you could easily see the fear of facing these later years of life alone. The flower man provided more than packages of cut flowers on Sunday mornings by the shoulder of the road. It wasn’t much, what he had to offer, but it was more valuable than gold.

Words of the day:

Bruit: repeat rumor, usually used with about
Propensity: An inclination or natural tendency to behave in a particular way
Contumely: a rude expression intended to offend or hurt
Caricature: a drawing that makes someone look funny or foolish because some part of the person is exaggerated

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