I wake from dreamless, cloudless, uninterrupted, nourishing sleep. My brain feels like a freshly swept room. The neurons threaded like purple silk strands through my mind hum pleasantly, soothingly, each synapse on beat with my footfall on the hardwood, the rainfall out the window, the fireball blazing across a face on the diamond eye of the universe, visible from Tokyo in the last week of November.
The burnished, blushing sun makes its exit off the stage. The seasons change. The pattern breaks. Blistered leaves, stripping wind, cloud cover. The dark orange coat my father bought me returns to the closet.
I come into the kitchen to find Strawberry has bought flowers on a whim. In the beige milk jug that serves as an ersatz vase, the bouquet leans heavily to one side, tied up with twine. Is this a desire for spring made manifest, I wonder idly, carding my fingers through the big tufts of bulbous green fuzz, the reedy, soft-touch stems, the microscopically small, starlike yellow blooms, the dazzling burgundy flowers with petals like intricate pleats, folded onto and into one another over and over, the thumb-sized red chalices shaped like artichoke hearts, their heads bowed, the drooping leaves, the thick strip of white buds curved like a scythe, a waxing crescent.
As I touch, one of the tiny yellow flowers drops off. In the center of the palm of my hand, it rests like a thorn. I bring it up to my face to peer inside: at that scale, the smallest details take up the whole of my vision, becoming vaguely unrecognizable, unreal. My fingernail grazes the edge of a petal and the stigma and ovule pop out easily, immediately, as though spring-loaded. The petals crumple and disintegrate. The shape collapses entirely. I arrange the pieces on my desk into a circle, a line; in this condition, what was once a flower could now be anything.