Bunch of Roses

She giggled as he slipped over a patch of ice on the sidewalk…

Such had been the life of Tom Moody. Nobody took him seriously. He had been pursuing Lindsey Baxter for exactly a year now. When he first saw her decorating the display window of Thomas & Sons last Christmas eve, he had decided that someday, she would have his babies.

He soon became a regular customer at Thomas & Sons, buying Cancer supplies everyday, for which he had practically no use. His only objective was to catch a glimpse of the maiden he admired.

If he got lucky, maybe experience a brush of her soft fragrant hands, as she passed him a bottle of drugs.

He was a man of little means and barely managed to make ends meet. After his parents died at a young age, he earned his bread by being a labourer at the local ship-breaking yard.

Regular meals were hard to come by. Even more so now, after he spent 3/4th of his daily wage in buying expensive medicines that he invariably poured down the drain. Hunger would make sleeping difficult, and he would read about cancer written on the back of medicine cartons until his eyes surrendered to deep slumber.
Tomorrow would be a new day to try talking to Lindsey, and once she relented, the expenses on Cancer drugs would stop. And so hope lived on, night after night.

Then the day finally arrived when he had made up his mind. He walked up into the store, ignoring the friendly nods from the other staff. His eyes resolutely fixed on Lindsey, his mind- focused on the lines he had been rehearsing every night since saw her.
And then something happened.

She giggled as he tripped over and fell, thanks to his open shoelace.  The roses that he’d meticulously picked, were now a scattered heap of petals on the floor.
Red faced and angry with himself, he rushed out resolving to never return. That night, he slept on an empty stomach again.

The next morning, a swelling made an appearance under his left jaw. It only grew to the other side as weeks passed. He informed the doctor of a suspected cancer of the neck, owing to the toxins he inhaled at work. But the doctor laughed it off and assured him it was not the case. Who was this uneducated orphan to advice him anyway?

His “mumps” grew incurable as months went by.
He resumed his visits to Thomas & Sons and the ritual of buying cancer drugs and throwing them down the drain. Only this time, he made it a point to have a conversation everyday with the woman of his desire.

It was Christmas Eve today, and she had finally agreed to watch the Opera with him. Inspite of being frail, he dressed his best- a blue muffler hiding the growth on his neck.

He greeted his lady with a bunch of roses, and they walked to the opera- hand in hand.
And then something happened.

She giggled as he slipped over a patch of ice on the sidewalk…
The handpicked roses again scattered in heap of petals on the road.

Only this time, he never stood up again.

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