I smell flowers in the garden.

I smell them because they are there and I am here and there is something that keeps me coming back to this exact spot in the middle of the night.

In the middle, not at the beginning or at the end but always in the middle. In the most inconvenient time of the middle too, when the busses stop running and I have to walk in the cold wet dark. I think I like it because I think I like tempting fate.

I like the alleyways and the dark corners and the men on the street who holler at me. I like the despair and the drama and the women in heavy makeup leaning over men’s cars and saying “hey baby you wanna have some fun tonight.”

It takes eight thousand and seventy eight steps to get to the garden, did you know that? I think you must have, you always counted steps one, two, three. Counted the cracks on the way to the church on our wedding day, counted the steps from our old apartment to our new house with the garden in the front with the red and yellow flowers.

I counted too. I counted the steps that it took to get to the wing of the hospital and I counted the words that came out of a doctors mouth (there were five there were five).

I counted the days since the last day, there have been eighty four of those. I counted the flowers in the garden until I couldn’t count them anymore or walk past this bench anymore on a cool sunny morning because you loved cool sunny mornings and now that you are gone there is nothing more to love about them.

I live on the other side of town now. There are no flowers or gardens because I think I like it that way now but there are eight thousand and seventy eight steps to get here and I know I must look like a crazy person and I guess I must be.

But I like to come here, because at four in the morning it is pitch black except for the lantern next to the bench I sit on and the dew makes the roses smell like they did on the days we used to sit here. I like to watch the day break and the people stir and the men who sweep the streets come out in the morning. They are untouched by the smell of the flowers, I bet they don’t even know how many steps it takes to get here.

Sheelah Brennan


A Short Conversation is a collection of stories, thoughts, and general musing. I like to write like I'm slamming a door; loudly, and with purpose.

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