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'Notebook with Pressed Flower' by Annie Bien

LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection, Flash Fiction, 'Notebook with Pressed Flower' by Annie Bien

'Notebook with Pressed Flower' by Annie Bien

We skirted a protest. Jaz took my hand. We ran to a garden. Jaz had brushed by a flower bush and a bloom fell. He stopped so we wouldn’t smash it, picking it up.

“Red Bauhinia, an orchid—this way—” Jaz turned. We ran, I had no idea where we were going, students repelled down the walls of the Polytechnic building. I didn’t even gasp for breath, we climbed all these steps, it was getting dark, I had no idea where we were, but Jaz gave me a handkerchief, “Pepper spray, cover your face. Let’s go.”

He brought me back to the hotel. “See you tomorrow.”

This morning, reading the paper, I thought of what the news chooses to describe. They didn’t have to push people that way, we were just watching. I never thought much about how people report things.

Jaz nodded, “You report things and people hear what they want to hear:

“‘We were hit by riots and violence … endangered not only the safety of this city but also national security. That’s why the various actions have to be taken to restore Hong Kong from the chaos that we have seen … people have been suffering…’”

“One person smiles, ‘Everything’s fine.’ Others hear otherwise. Alichay, there’s report of a virus coming from China, it’s extremely deadly. We’ve talked about this before, but we must make plans to ensure you get home safely.”

I’m pressing this flower, I didn’t think an orchid could be flattened, but if you have the will it seems anything can be preserved. Its looks very delicate and bruised. Yes, Jaz said, “we” again. I’ll miss him so much.

She kisses the flower.



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