Flowers for December 

Part 3
Room 669 

A lot can be behind a door. I thought about the numbers. The math. The crowd of people in the room downstairs. 

The last time I saw Lauren. This time. Lauren came walking out with her cane. Her hair pulled back into a tail. She didn’t look old to me. She looked tired but not old. Sometimes I think we look at each other through memories. 

Sometimes I think we would be better off not remembering anything. 

“What is it? You have that look you always have when something is troubling you, Sean. The wolves are at the door, and we have all night and no fire.” 

I sat down. Opened my notes and watched her. I remember standing on the bridge and her lips. She looked at me and told me she was leaving. She had to. We could have been great together. But, we were better apart.”

“What are you going to tell them? Lauren. You haven’t found a cure have you?”

She laughed. “A cure! Ha! There is no such thing as a cure. We are all dying. Every one of us. It started when we were born. Life is death. Every form of medicine is just prolonged death.There is no such thing as a cure. If I had one. I wouldn’t give it to them. No.”

“What would you do?”

“Keep it for myself. They don’t deserve it.” 

I looked around the room. “You don’t mean that Lauren.” 

Lauren pulled on her uniform coat. 

” I’ve spent my life,working , and now I don’t know what to do. Leukemia, maybe three months. I’m dying….there’s not enough time. I don’t think I can stop this, even if I had the resources.” 

“What about medical schools? Surely there is something…”

“No. students today…I tried. They raise hands and trust textbooks they’ve paid a lifetime held ransom for. They won’t question what they read or what I find they’re obedient little soldiers. But not good scientists.  You can’t stop this spread. Not with that. I need critical thinkers. Someone who won’t even trust me. Science is our integrity. Not my degree or pay check or emotions. I don’t care that I’m dying! Get me results.” 

Lauren closed her notes. Packing them into her binder. Looked at me, asked.

“How’s journalism? Is it everything you dreamed? Don’t you ever want to go back? Do things differently? You haven’t exactly gotten your nobel prize. Have you.”

I sighed. Scratching my arm. I was frustrated. Frustrated with this whole thing. Newspapers are broke. They can’t afford journalists. They’re simply three page thought pieces. Cut into the bone marrow for budgets and no profit. No one gets a story. They get an opinion from a guy behind a YouTube camera who couldn’t even make it to the actual story. What could go wrong. 

We are drowning in a culture of mass media. Not a lack of information, it’s not even hidden, it’s in excess, too much. Anyone with a web address could post a story. An now we were paying for it. Everyone has a news forum to back up and support their worldview. 

I took my parents fortune and used it to travel in an effort to give the whole story. Without opinion. I’m one of the only journalists  who will be seen at government conferences. Not because they don’t want us there. Because no one can afford the ticket. Or salary. 

“I wouldn’t change anything. Lauren. I like what I’m doing. What are you going to tell them?”

She turned towards me. 

“I’m going to tell them the truth. That we had a good run. But our time is up.”

“You can’t say that, you have to give them hope . These people will respond to hope. It’s human nature.”

Lauren laughed. 

“That’s what the Golden Arches of McDonald’s are for.”

“Ehh I’m more of a Cheesecake Factory and yoga on Sundays.”

Lauren just stared at me.

“If you want to give them hope. Tell them we had a golden era where science, like God, Told disease it couldn’t take anymore lives. But then we got too comfortable, we didn’t suffer, we couldn’t remember, and we took down our barricade. And now the Reaper is coming to call. And there is nothing I can do.”

I ran my hand through my hair.

“Lauren, you’re the last scientist. No one is going to listen to you.”

“Soon I’ll be dead. And then so will they.”

She stepped into the elevator. 

The doors closing 

“I love you,you’re insufferable. But you have a nice ass. If I had more time.”

I watched as she stepped onto that podium. Opening her notes, to this crowd of faceless strangers. Staring into their phones. Assuming this too will pass. Like the war they unfollowed and the other viruses or flu seasons…it always goes away. 

I watched as she stepped up with her cane. And looked over the room. This woman I somehow still loved. She would open her notes and see two tickets.  One way.  To the mountains. Maybe I couldn’t  fix this,buy a scientist or a cure, but I could give solitude, and we could be together for just a little while. 

She looked at me. 

And for just a moment 

It was just us in that room 

And we were back in college 
Arguing over drinks. And I could see the future. And it was good.

End

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Flowers for December #2

Part two 

What am I doing here? I hate crowds I hate people. People are the worst. Crowding out everything suffocating the air out of the room. Living between panic and depression and just one text message or notification  from a heart attack.

It’s unfortunate that I chose journalism as my profession.

I move through the hallway of the hotel making my way past the staff and the staff infections. To the elevators.

Everyone has smiling faces. I notice as the doors close. A drink in one hand and a phone in the other. Pitching ideas. Checking updates. Laughing about today. Planning out tomorrow. 

They don’t know. 

I look beyond the faces to the back of the conference hall. The empty platform waiting. 

They really don’t know. 

Or maybe they just don’t care. 

I check my notes…

Room 669 

The light counting off the floors.

Flowers for December #1

“…we’re meant to lose the people we love. How else would we know how important they are to us? ”

– Fitzgerald


 Photo origin unknown
Part one

 I remember the first time I saw Lauren.We were at this party and she was standing there with a drink in her hand-hair pulled back. 

She smiled and it was like everything became art. You could see the colour in everything. 

I tried talking to her then but we just argued about something like politics. 

Later, She was making or attempting to make a drink. Shaking it in the mixer. And spilling ice everywhere. 

“Would you like some help with that?” I asked. “I’m pretty sure it’s better when the ice makes it to the glass. ”  she just glared at me. “I’ve got it. You wouldn’t know  how to make this anyway unless it comes already in a bottle.”  I laughed. I remember that part. And saying something about a drink making you feel smart and act dumb…kind of like sports… I think we got along after that. Or maybe it was a few moments after that…she found me and we started talking again. 

I think we forget what we overlook. Maybe that is the thing. We overlook so many  small insignificant things and they add up to larger vacancies inside of us or our worlds.

But I didn’t want to forget this and I didn’t want to forget her.

this feeling this moment this place.

I remember that more than anything.