KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 6: Fall 2016
Micro-Fiction: 371 words

Bend in Close

by Jan Bowman

I woke up one morning and felt ill just touching the violin case. I didn’t know what to do with myself since music was all I’d thought about. Robert said I should teach music, but I don’t like kids. Kids mess up music. Most of them never really care about the sounds they make. They don’t know a fart from a giggle. They hear, but don’t know how to listen.

Now I work in a greenhouse where they grow nothing but roses and ship them out for online orders. It’s like a big factory operation, but even so, you can work for hours on end without anyone bothering you. There’s only me and the roses and peace and quiet. I hear birds, especially early in the morning, because I get to work before six and I’m done and home by four in the afternoon.

I like the swishing sound the sprinklers make when they come on in the mornings. And sometimes early in the morning you can bend in close to a rose that’s about to open and it makes this soft rustling sound, like someone unwrapping tissue paper.

The down side of working with plants is that you have to put worm poop around the roots. I wear rubber gloves. Still, I like this job mostly because there’s no one watching or telling at me what to do. But it is hot in the greenhouse. I sweat a lot getting the trimming done. I get so focused on the tasks. It’s very Zen.

First thing in the morning I cut the long-stemmed roses so they stay closed up tight. They ship better. If they’re kept cold and in water with the stems trimmed properly, they’ll last at least a week. Sometimes I decide to miss some buds and let them go ahead and open naturally, the way nature intended. They usually open the next morning, so I get to work early and I linger in that area, waiting and listening.

Some days, I remember who I was. The roses remind me when I listen to their songs. When I was famous, I played the violin so tenderly men cried. People in the audience would bring me roses.

Jan Bowman’s
Issue 6, Fall 2016

stories have won awards and have been finalists in a number of recent publication contests, including the Danahy Fiction Prize, Gival Press Awards, Glimmer Train, Roanoke Review, and Broad River Review RASH Awards among others. Jan’s new collection Flight Path & Other Stories (Evening Street Press) is now available online from the publisher or Amazon. Her next story collection Life Boat Drills for Women is under construction.

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