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A Rose by Another Name

Page 2

Jane Downing

It’d go like this, she’d told herself since late primary school: she’d be going about her everyday business, nothing out of the ordinary. Getting off the bus, out of a lift. Rushed, running late. Looking at her watch. A bump. A glance upward and then the recognition. That would be it. The heart would do all the work, the brain given leave from thinking because this was the miracle of true love. Her storytelling would conclude with something about two souls finally together, forever. Like the soles of shoes, useless unless in a pair.

Late primary had progressed to university, and the collision of quick upward glance with manly gaze had yet to unexpectedly sweep her up.

Bobbie took a proffered cup of tea. She raised a collusive eyebrow and mentioned, all off-hand with a nod in the direction of the man at the table, ‘Hey Fliss, Bradley has a friend.’

To look at him, you’d never guess. Felicity didn’t say this. She betook herself into the cavernous walk-in pantry to look for cornflakes, inevitably stale.

A Bed of Roses

Felicity arrived home to the florist flowers surviving in an ice-cream tub of water on the front step. Six roses in the embrace of baby’s breath and soft tissue paper. Delicate petals furled to enfold secrets. There was also a florist’s tag and a message in a trainee’s large childish hand half-blurred into oblivion by the water. There was a name.

Felicity carried the bouquet into the kitchen and abandoned it amongst the debris on the table. No-one had turned the radio off – it serenaded the cockroaches during workaday hours and now pumped out hard-edged cynical songs with catchy, hummable tunes.

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