yellow-rose nostalgia

My friend walks the streets at night, looking for sex-trade workers. She wears tall leather boots and a long black coat. On her lips, dark red lipstick.

The workers look like ordinary people. Because that is what they are. Some are just girls, with freckles, shirts stuffed with Kleenex and eyes too wide. Some are old, girls’ mothers pretending to be young, stuffed inside skirts too tight. Others are plain-faced, ordinary. Easily forgotten.

They stand alone on a crowded street. Stretched out like wares for sale.

My friend approaches each of them with a yellow rose. Pulls it out of her coat like a gun. They’re startled, for a moment. Take the rose tentatively between chipped nail polish fingers. It’s been so long. For some, it’s never been. They’ve never received a rose. Aren’t sure what it means.

“It means friendship,” my friend tells them. One at a time. They’re suspicious. Smell the yellow petals, and something flashes before them. Something bright, and warm. A life they’d long stopped dreaming of. A life they don’t believe they deserve. And all of a sudden, they’re young again. Little girls holding long stemmed roses drinking deep the promise of good things to come.

A car honks. The sound crashes into their nostalgia and they find themselves, once again, on a dark street corner with a guy leering out the window wanting to buy their skin.

My friend slips into the shadows. They hesitate, look back.

She nods. Disappears. Some run after her. Some drop the rose and climb into the car.



  1. Teneale said,

    April 23, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Do you really have a friend that does that? That is really brave. I don’t have the guys to do stuff like that. I’m sure she will change many lives.

  2. Teneale said,

    April 23, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Not guys…guts. Oops. I don’t have the guts to do that.

  3. kerri said,

    April 25, 2009 at 12:22 am

    is this amazing fiction by you, or is it a true story?

  4. April 27, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    I’m sure this is true. I know people who do things like this. And I know other people who work with them after they’ve chased the rose-giver:

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