The flower was huge, pink, and spiny – like something from the surface of an alien world. Jenna was enthralled. Around her, the farmers market buzzed with people and activity, but she was long gone. She pictured herself as the exiled queen of an ancient empire, cast adrift in space, her last loyal retainers around her as she worked to raise an army and reclaim her lost home world. The chief among them, Zarrow the mighty with his muscles ripling under his green skin in the red light of a dying sun, would carry it back from their last raid against the enemy to present to her, his queen, as a token of their forbidden love.
Jenna blushed to herself, a secret smile playing on the edge of her lips.
Suddenly, she was knocked aside, dreams scattered like sand in the surf, as her little brother Aaron barreled into her, hooting with delight. He was playing tag and too busy running as fast as possible to bother looking where he was going. Their mother, two stalls away, was trying her best to disavow all knowledge of the unruly herd and focus on picking out tomatoes from the big box. As the mother of five she knew that the endless tribal warfare would never stop and had stopped trying years ago As far as she was concerned, the kids were an autonomous nation of their own and as long as nobody needed to go to the emergency room, she just plain didn’t care.
Which was nice for her and all, but as the older sister Jenna felt the need to establish some order in the universe and so did her best to fill the void. In this case though, her chance had passed – Aaron had taken advantage of her temporary confusion to flee the scene of his crime and she didn’t feel like chasing him. At 14 years old she was practically a woman and it was beneath her dignity. More importantly, he was far enough away that she couldn’t easily catch him. At least for now.
She turned back to the stall, looking for her flower and was surprised to see Adam (from her 4th period math class) at the till, buying flowers. To her delight, she saw he’d picked out one of the big pink spiny ones and hoped for a moment he’d give it to her, dropping to one knee and proffering it with both hands and proclaiming his eternal devotion. Instead, he stuck it in his bag, got on his bike and rode away; a gift for some other girl. She tried not to feel disappointed, Adam wasn’t her type anyway. He was nice to look at but not a lot going on upstairs.
She sighed and her shoulders slumped a bit before picking herself back up and saying under her breath “well Jenna, sometimes a girl has to buy her own flowers. Might as well do it.”
She brought it home and put it in a vase by her bed, smelling its exotic perfume. She dreamed.