A Flower Blooms in the Darkbysheablue©
She walks slowly down the busy sidewalk, head held high, eyes straight ahead. She is walking so slowly, in fact, that the morning commuters rush around her like a swiftly running river sluicing around a large boulder set down by the gods at the dawn of time. No one even glances at her, it's as if she is just a part of the landscape, an obstacle to be avoided and forgotten about the moment it's been passed by. Tall towers of glass line both sides of the urban boulevard, casting the street in shadows lit at the edges by reflected sparks of light.
These sharp bits of light bounce off of the dark stim glasses that every pedestrian wears as they rush, blindly it would seem, to their destinations. Their hands float in front of them, or droop at their sides, fingers twitching in a palsied rhythm as they control the information flowing in from their glasses, plugged into the Network, cruising the news, sending and receiving mail, participating in stim cells, working, playing, ordering their dinner to be delivered that evening, taking care of the business of the day.
Except for her. She does not wear stim glasses, and if anyone had looked, she would have been noticed for that drastic absence before anyone registered her stunning beauty: cornflower blue eyes, long honey blonde hair, full, pale pink lips. She would have turned heads because she was not plugged in.
She walks resolutely on, staring at a point in the distance, the plugged-in peds flowing around her, until she suddenly stops and steps off of the sidewalk. She stands for a moment, a tall blonde in a red coat with pale skin and flowing golden hair. Her hands are still at her sides. Here there is a strip of well manicured lawn, almost a park, about half the length of a city block and just as wide. A low brick wall edges it at the back, and over the wall, a forgotten river flows as it always has, and always will. No one uses the park anymore, though there are benches and flowers, and there is no one here now.
She walks over the grass towards the wall, and the heels of her red patent leather pumps sink a little into the earth with each step. She puts her hands on the low wall and leans toward the nameless river, her hair stirring in the light breeze. She takes a deep breath, turns her back to the river and strides to the center of the park. Where she stops. She stands there, her hands at her sides, in a patch of sunlight, her head tilted up slightly, and stares at the glass tower across the street. And she stands there. And she stands there. An hour passes, and no one notices her standing there in the park, in her red trench coat and her red heels, still like a stature, staring across the street. Another hour passes, and the pedestrian traffic has slowed to the late morning trickle, and still not one person has looked past their stim glasses to where she stands, a beautiful invisible woman in the middle of a beautiful, useless park.
It is afternoon now, and still she is there. It has grown quite warm, and though the sun only reaches certain places where there is a gap in the glass windowed towers, it is high and it shines down on her beautiful golden hair as she stands in the park. Where before she moved not a bit except for the blinking of her eyes and the rise and fall of her chest, she now does. She shrugs her shoulders and lets her red overcoat fall down her arms and puddle behind her feet. She steps out of her heels and resumes her position, now barefoot in the grass, her white linen wrap dress hugging her figure: full breasts, tucked-in waist, flared hips. Her arms are slim and pale, her legs and ankles, shapely.
Another hour passes. The beautiful woman in the park still stares up at the building across the street. She moves again, this time she slowly slips her dress off of her shoulders, and slides her arms out of her sleeves. The dress is tied at her waist, she lets the top half fall and drape around her back, sets her shoulders, and continues to stand. She is bare beneath the pretty white wrap dress, her skin smooth and pale. Nipples an enticing light pink that matches the color of her lips tip the end of her upturned breasts. The breeze blows her honeyed hair over shoulders the color of cream, and she seems completely unperturbed, unselfconscious of her nudity, all of her attention across the street so that, if anyone were watching her, she would almost seem to lean toward that particular glass tower like a flower in the shadows will lean towards the sun.
It is late afternoon, now, and our beautiful flower has wilted not a bit. The sun has gone, but the deepening shadows do not dim her beauty. She is still leaning slightly on the balls of her feet, it's as if she is the figurehead adorning the prow of a long-voyaging ship, still and brave and resolute. There is almost no pedestrian traffic now, and there will never be any more cars, so it is quiet on the street, hushed even, as if the buildings and the wide sidewalks are waiting in anticipation of the evening's rush of feet.
It is in this hush that the opening of a side door in the building that borders the park can be heard, though it is barely more than a hush itself. A woman steps out, tall and dark-haired in a black suit and dark stim glasses. She has her palm to her ear, her phone engaged, and she pauses on the sidewalk outside the door. She looks up at the top of the very tall building she just exited, and shakes her head as if saying no to whoever is on the other end of the line. Her short dark bob swishes around her head prettily, and when she straightens up and turns too quickly to go back inside, her stims slip off of her nose and catch on the thin silver chain that secures them around her neck.
As she reaches to put them back in place, her dark eyes find the lovely blonde flower that has planted itself just yards away in the park. She pauses, hands stopped halfway to the glasses resting against her chest, and she stares. She is perfectly still, as still as our Flower in the park, and she stares with her dark glossed lips parted in surprise. She then rouses herself and puts on her stims, still watching Flower as her hands tap out a rhythm in the air, searching for ... something. Denied of any information, the dark bobbed woman turns on her heel and reenters her building, casting one unreadable glance over her shoulder before the door closes against her.
Now the sun is setting, and the street is in shadow. The doors of the glass towers that line the street open almost simultaneously, and what starts as a trickle quickly becomes a tide of pedestrians in dark suits and dark stims, one almost indistinguishable from the next, their hurried pace only restrained by the unspoken rules of sidewalk etiquette. Many of them, in fact most of them, pass right by our pale blonde flower without even seeing her, but a few do give her a look. It slows their pace to see her there, no stim, they notice first. Then their quick eyes track down her body and they take in her bare torso, pale skin exposed, firm breasts with their tight pink nipples that exactly match the color of her lips. Her gauzy white dress is still tied at the waist and she stands barefoot in the grass.
It gives them pause, it slows them but they don't stop. Their hands move and their fingers twitch and they search and inquire as they walk on ... what are they searching for on the Network and in the cells? Avant-garde living art installation? The lost art of street performers? Mad woman lost in the streets of the city? Whatever they search for, they don't find it, and they move on, their pace quickly catching their fellow peds, on to their next destination, be it home or a liquor establishment or food or the opium bars. However, as more people search for a clue to her presence, the more there is a record of her there. There are no answers as to why, but it has become a fact. She is there, standing half naked in the forgotten park on a busy street that backs up to the nameless river.
The dark haired woman from earlier in the afternoon comes out of the side door of her building. She is holding something in her hand. She strides purposefully across the sidewalk towards the Flower in the grass but seems to lose her momentum when her heels hit the soft earth. She stands there motionless for a few heartbeats, a foil to our intrepid and mysterious Flower, dark where she is light, but just as tall and lovely in her own way. The bob-haired woman slowly reaches up and removes her stim glasses. She blinks rapidly and looks around herself almost wonderingly at the sky, the buildings, the peds on the sidewalks, like she has never seen them before. She turns back to Flower and looks at her as well, drinks her in, even, her eyes travel from the flowing mane of golden blonde hair to the pretty neck and linger on the bare breasts, exposed and beautiful.
The dark-haired woman walks slowly towards her, sidles right up to the pale park flower and hesitantly reaches out and touches her arm. She extends her other hand, in it a tall clear glass of water. She holds it up right in front of our blue-eyed Flower, but Flower makes no move to take it. She must know the dark-haired woman is there, they are but a few breaths apart, but she does not look at her. Dark Bob looks around, notices all of the people not noticing them standing there, and slowly lowers her arms. She takes a few steps back towards her building, but then turns quickly and strides over to one of the benches that decorate the park. It is the closest bench to our mysterious Flower, only five or so feet away, and sits perpendicular to the street.
She sits and sets the glass down beside her. She taps her fingers on her trousered knees, then stops when she realizes she's not wearing her stim glasses. She quickly puts them back on, glancing nervously over at the passing peds on the sidewalk as she does so. The bob-haired woman resumes tapping her fingers on her knees and intermittently looks up at Flower, standing still and lovely on the grass. Flower's long hair stirs in the breeze, and her dress rustles around her slim pale thighs. She is otherwise motionless.
Dark Bob sits plugged into the Network for another hour but the shadows are deepening and the pedestrian traffic is slowing. She stands up and takes off her glasses again. She picks up the glass of water and approaches our Flower once again. She stands next to her, like Flower's own shadow, and looks up to where Flower is looking. That tall glass tower across the street, just the same as the rest of the buildings on the street. Now she stands directly in front of Flower, staring intently into her face, but Flower stares right through her. Maybe there is something in Flower's face that Dark Bob sees, something in her pale blue eyes, because instead of merely offering Flower the water, she holds it up to her mouth and starts to tip the glass towards her slightly parted pink lips. Flower's fists clench and she locks her lips onto the edge of the glass, drinking so quickly that some of it dribbles out of the corners of her mouth, down her neck, over her breasts and down her taut stomach.
The dark-haired woman tries to tip the glass so that it is easy for Flower to drink, and when the glass is empty she pulls it away and holds it down to her side. She says something softly to the beautiful Flower, just a word or two, but Flower seems not to hear. Dark Bob looks up and around her, sees the twilight sky and lack of pedestrians, and with one more look at Flower, turns her back and walks away. She puts her stims back on as she goes, and doesn't see the deep breath Flower takes, or the tears that start to spill slowly from her eyes.