She bought me a blue-petaled apology. She’d stumbled into the house after returning from our local Home Depot, the large wooden pot almost tipping over in her freckled arms. It was unusual for both of us—not the accident, but the apologies and the gifts. The tall orchid sat in the center of our kitchen counter. Every morning, I brushed my fingers along its blossoms—small navy beginnings dispersed into skylit edges. She proudly took pictures of the plant from every angle—most of them blurry, all of them beautiful. On days we had nothing to say, we talked about our watering schedule: Thursday afternoons, the red metal watering can filled halfway. For months, I let this become the most important thing between us—our thorned history overshadowed by the flower’s bright sapphire. When the plant shriveled into dormancy, we dusted its limp green leaves and waited for growth. A blue we could believe in. A healing we could hold. The following spring, the orchid bloomed its actual white. Soil spilled across the kitchen floor as she tossed it into the trash bin.
Emily Afifi is an emerging writer and graduate of Rutgers University. She lives in Central Jersey with her three cats.