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I was only twelve. (Or was I fourteen?) Certainly no one had ever sent me flowers before. It felt quite glamorous, greeting the delivery person at the front door, all blush and false modesty, murmuring quietly that yes it was my birthday as I accepted the bundle of neat blooms. They were lush, fecund tulips, their petals closed in on one another, each layer neatly sealed on top of the next. I dutifully cut the stems at a slight angle over the kitchen sink, a Lincoln log stack of bright green appendages mounting in the sink. Finally set in water, I was shocked to see how quickly the flowers opened, revealing themselves to be a kind of purple I had never seen, equally deep and bright. It was a color born, I was sure, in a psychic’s crystal ball or a witch’s brew. I sat the small vase by the bathroom sink, ready to warm me to the looming school day each morning. I would talk to them, whisper little mantras and war cries, stroke the pliant petals like a talisman. “This color is beyond nature,” I instructed my mother the day I had come home to see the petals overripe, collapsed on the counter, plucked fairy wings. “You could never make a lipstick this color, could you? You couldn’t, no. The world might break from simply trying.”

Prose by

Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy
Mini Bio
Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy, a founding editor of Gawker Media’s Jezebel.com, lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and (very small) rescue Labrador retriever. She is currently at work on her first novel, written for young adults. You can follow her (super earnest musings about politics and pop culture) on Twitter.
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