I gasp. For a moment, it feels as though I will be unable to take in another breath, and happily so. But a split second later, I inhale, gracious but cursing my lungs pathetically at the same time. I never deserve that tiny breath, that tiny instant of life. You'd agree.

But dear God help me, because this is the most beautiful thing I've ever laid my eyes upon. I have to wipe my glasses off on my shirt, the yellow one that you hate, just to make sure I'm not imagining it. And God, God they are still as beautiful as they were at my first glance. I know when you see these, you'll have to love me. It's inevitable.

God's hand-painted each little petal so delicately with his own brush, I know. No human could make something this gorgeous, not at all. The color is the richest mauve, such a beautiful purple, that I've ever seen. And, God. I can't pass this up. It's fate. You'll have to love me.

The bell jingles as I push open the door. Sounds almost cheerful but God, there's a stupid potted plant. The sound is awful, good Lord. Why would they put a potted plant behind a door? God, Everything always tries to get in my way when I have a good idea, God. The cashier, an older woman, she looks at me surprised. I straighten my shirt and she's still looking at me.

"That's a nice shirt," she finally says, and affords to make a weak smile. "Very nice shade of yellow."

I nod. Instead of looking at her, I look at my fingernails. God, I've got to learn how to wash my hands better, there's dirt all under them. No sense in that. And I know how much you hate it.

"Um, these flowers here." I point at them best I can and hope she's looking at me, 'cause God, I've already embarrassed myself enough.


She starts walking toward me. God, I hate dealing with people and you know I hate it. Why did I even think to come in here? God. You'd better love me for this.

She has a kind face but it's wrecked with her nerves. I avert my eyes back to my fingernails.

"How much? Er, what are they? And the price?"

God, you idiot, learn how to talk! And they're all for you. Dear God.

"These are mauve lilacs, sir, and a bouquet is about five dollars." She smiles again but backs up a couple of steps, trying to get back to the cash register. God.

"Thank you. Thanks. I want them. Um, please," I stammer. Jesus, learn some manners! Oh, but you'd better love these. You'll smile, eternally smile, when you see these.

She picks up the bouquet and hurries back to the cash register in her slow-moving, old-ladylike way. She rings them up quickly while I'm picking at my nails, my dirty nails. I dig into my pocket, and my hands shake when I give her the money. God, stop being so nervous! Jesus, I hope you love these. I know you will.

Before she hands the bouquet back to me I have to clean off my glasses again. Dear God, they fog up all of the time, and my cheeks are hot when my hand brushes them. God. I don't bother to get my change.

Walking out, dear God, I'm so stupid, I trip on the stupid rug. God! I fall into the door and the bell jingles, angry at me for disturbing him. God.

Outside, I rush my steps. The clouds overhead are ugly, dark grey and full of rain, ready to explode. Having too much held in does that to you, you know, I know you realize that by now. Dear Jesus, you've had more experience with it than most.

God, now the rain is splattering in front of me. If these flowers are wet you're not going to love me, dear God, not if they're broken. These mean everything and—

What's behind me? Nothing. God, there's nothing behind me. You always tell me I'm paranoid, God.

The rain keeps getting heavier. The more I try to clean off my glasses the more it seems to rain. Dear God, it's ridiculous. Just keep on walking. I'm not that far now, you know. I just hope you're happy to see me. You're really going to love me now, once you see these flowers. You're going to –

JESUS! What the hell?

The dog is just sitting there, behind me. This big, black dog is just sitting behind me.

I take a few steps forward and stop. The dog follows and stops. Dear God, I don't know why you do this to me!

It's panting. The teeth that are showing are sharp and gleaming white, and God, they remind me of yours. So bright and white and straight. God, I hope you love these flowers. I walk a step or two closer to the dog and it sits, waiting. You're waiting for me too. Looks like you two have a lot in common.

The rain is making my shirt damp, this shirt you hate. God. I pat the dog on the head, making sure the bouquet is far away from him in my other hand, and turn on my heels, going to other way. Dear God, it keeps following me, but stops when I turn off the sidewalk, into the grass.

Jesus, it's slippery, the rain's been here before I have. I take off my glasses and wipe them off on my shirt but it doesn't help, it just spreads the rain all around them. God, I really can't see now.

God, now I'm on the ground. My feet always fall out from under me. I look quickly at the lilacs – God! A couple of them are bent… God, this can't be ruined, because you have to love me. You just – God, just get up. I'm almost there.

All of these, when you're out past the buildings, into the trees, it all looks so alive. I know how much you love being outside, even when it's raining. God, you love the smell of rain, and I know this! I'm the one who knows it! Dear God. You have to love me. It's all so lush and green and growing, all of these trees and bushes. The flowers that surround me right now are pale in comparison to these. You have to love them. You have to love me now.

I know you're going to be up here soon. I straighten my shirt, dear God, so I look nice enough for you. I know you love it when I look nice. I take my glasses and wipe them off on my shirt one more time, straighten myself off, dear God, one more time. I take a deep breath.

You're lying on the ground, under a blanket of leaves. You look like you're sleeping. God, you're sleeping and peaceful and God, so beautiful. I inch closer slowly, carefully. I'd hate to wake you, especially now.

I lay the bouquet right beside your hair, splayed out across the grass.

"They're for you. Th-they're beautiful, don't you think?"

I look into your eyes, wide open. They're still crystal blue and God, the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Dear God, you have to love me. I touch your face lightly, your pale, pale cheek. God.

"Do you love me now?"