This story is by Nicol Tsang and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“We met, on the edge of a field of sunflowers and autumn. The scent of a recent storm lingered– rain and new shoots.
You had just stood there, amidst a dimming sky, flowers in a ringlet around your head, hair tousled by the wind, curls tracing the slope of your nose and jawline, framing your face like petals. Then, you waved, smiling.
We met again the next day in the field, sunflowers and grass curling around my calves and my waist; they had seemed so tall then. You waved at me again, like a sunflower beaming at the sun.
“What’s your name?”
You tilted your head, your crown of flowers sliding to rest on an ear as you pursed your lips and thought my question through. Eyes suddenly alight, you plucked a sunflower from the multitudes that stood basking in the sun’s waning rays and presented it to me, tracing letters in the rich earth that we sat on.
You held your breath and waited, eyes impossibly wide as though I would judge you for a name that you’d chosen for yourself, even if it was a name of a flower. A sunflower, nonetheless.”
“A sunflower, nonetheless.”
“Don’t mock me.” She’s turned away, flickering through different pages, away from the first story. “You don’t get to use my writing to mock me.”
“And I was wondering then the ghost of whom I had fallen in love with.” You swipe at the pages in her hands and she giggles. “Well, that’s lovely, a fall from grace. From sunflower girl to a ghost. Is that how you think of me now?” The sun sinks down the nape of her neck and rises along every stray snarl of her, like waning light through the veins of a leaf.
“So what if I do?”
She flips through every page of you and laughs. “This is recent, isn’t this? You still love me?”
“What a damn shame. Get out.”
“Get out of where, your head?” She’s incredulous, eyes widening to let the sun drift along the cleft of her brows and seep into her eyes like pale fruit tea. She’s very beautiful. You’re not quite sure she ever was that beautiful.
“Where were we again?”
“We’re always here.” The sunflower girl (ghost), bosom friend of the maturing sun, looks straight at you. Smiles.
A brief wind passes through her, ruffling her edges. She shifts, you see the fall of her neck and the arch of her foot. The sun slides off her skin and she hums. “And I was wondering then the ghost of whom I had fallen in love with.”
The sun wanes further. Autumn ends.
“Then if I had at all.”