Plastic Flowers

by Sophie Ezzell

You’re laughing in the chair next to me, telling my stories to people like they’re your memories. I don’t talk because I haven’t forgotten Saturday night when you called me and our friends and your sister. The rum numbed your jaw and the words struggled on your tongue, but you still managed to use my name and fuck in the same thought. I was just drunk. My mother had a blue Fiesta ware vase that sat beneath the kitchen window collecting loose light. In springtime, yellow tulips would lean on its rim. But when I was twelve and running from my brother’s Nerf gun in knit socks I slipped on the tile. My hips were new and wide, wider than my friends’ but still smaller than my mother’s. I didn’t know how to use them yet and when I slipped they caught the table’s edge and bumped the vase to the floor. If Sophie wasn’t my friend, I would be fucking her on the couch right now. Pieces of blue ceramic and torn tulip petals made a mosaic on the kitchen floor. The water made my socks cold and heavy, they left a trail of slick when I ran upstairs with the dog in my arm. My mother put the Nerf gun in the trash. My father cursed when he carried the vacuum downstairs. After the line of light beneath my parents’ door turned black, my brother and I tiptoed out of our rooms. We pulled the pieces of blue from the vacuum filter and tried to glue them back together. Look, I’m sorry. We told ourselves it wasn’t broken anymore because we could only see the cracks on the inside. We took the bent tulips out of the trash and filled the vase with sink water, but it cried through the cracks. In the morning my mother put the vase back underneath the window and left plastic flowers in its wound. We’re still friends, right? But even those faded beneath the light.

Sophie Ezzell is a Tennessee born writer. She has received multiple Maier Writing Awards for her works in fiction and poetry. Her nonfiction has been published in the Burningword Literary Journal and is forthcoming in Still: The Journal. Currently, she lives in Huntington, West Virginia where serves as Poetry Editor for the Et Cetera literary magazine.

Artwork by: Annie Spratt