#FictionFriday

Thou shalt love thyself.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Secret Admirers.”

She was just writing a new piece of poem, one that she could proudly send to her publisher. She needs this one last poem to complete her new work. She hopes that the swaying of the trees outside would inspire her. But the old heater in her apartment room seems to be distracting her more than anything, it does not work properly because she was still feeling the cold windy air.

She was scribbling random lines on her notebook when the rumbling machine of the truck brought her back to her cold apartment room. She peeked outside only to see the backlight of the moving truck. She cursed under her breath because for the umpteenth time she forgot to put out her trash bag for the truck to pick up. Now, she had to walk several metres to the dumping ground; she would not have mind doing that if it is not February. The news have said that this year’s winter is one of the coldest one, and so the prospect of having to walk out in the cold just to throw her trash bag does not seem that appealing to her. Against her craving to stay in her room, even though it might have been as cold as being outside, she put on her boots and her coat. She had to throw the trash bag.

On moment like these that she is grateful that her mother taught her to always look down when you’re coming inside or going outside of your room. When she is about to step out of her apartment room, she saw the bouquet of roses and the box of chocolate just laying there in front of her door. Maybe someone had knock her door while she was in the bathroom, she thought to herself. She brought the gifts inside and set the gifts on her table. She noticed the small envelope tuck amongst the roses and was tempted to see who the sender was, but she knows better not to stray from her plan. She left the gifts and went out to throw the trash bag first, then she would see who the sender was.

She was suppressing a smile when she brought the small envelope to her small couch across the television. Who could have sent her a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolate on a Valentine’s day? She had broken up with her previous boyfriend a mere three months ago. Could it be him? She highly doubt so. They didn’t broke up on good terms.

She was disappointed to see that there was no name of the sender, safe for the message “thou shalt love thyself” addressed to her. Well, at least these gifts were definitely for her; this was not some stray gifts that some delivery person had mistakenly left on her door. But who could have sent this to her? Does she look that pathetic to have someone sent something like this to her on a Valentine’s Day?

She text her sister and brother simultaneously; both swore up and down that they did not send anything for her. She knew there is no way her siblings would have sent something like this for her, not even for a prank. Her sister was too much of a cheapskate and her brother is too busy and lazy to actually order something like this. Could it be her parents? Highly impossible; her mum hates Valentine’s Day and her dad does not even have an inch of an idea to even order a pizza through a phone call. But she had to at least ask them, right? But what is she going to say? No, she would not risk the embarrassment from her parents; she was embarrass enough from asking about this to her siblings, she does not need another embarrassment.

The first day after the she received the gifts was filled with questions. Who would have the nerve to play with her feelings like that? She tried to be positive, maybe the sender meant well. But, surely the sender know her enough that she broke up with her boyfriend because her boyfriend cheats on her and then left her for the new girl just to got married to her a mere two months after they broke up. Obviously sending her these gifts on a Valentine’s Day is just a cruel joke.

The following days were just a blur. She is still filled with questions, but it does not bother her anymore. She was suddenly overflowed with inspiration. She was just constantly writing new poems, more than her publisher had asked for. Suddenly she was filled with an energy she thought she never had. It does not matter who sent her the gifts, what matter is the roses were beautiful and it had made her bland apartment looked more colourful. She went to the florist more often now, asking questions about how to take care of roses and start buying small house plant also. Her bland apartment now looks more lively than before and she liked it.

The chocolates were also delicious, she had to asked her sister to come and finished the whole box, and surely her sister brought their brother also. The three of them eventually spent the weekend together with the box of chocolates, two boxes of pizza and a deck of Cards against Humanity, courtesy of both her siblings. They decided to crash her apartment and it feels like years since the three of them spent time together. She had missed them, and only when they were laughing over the game of Cards against Humanity that she realised that her breakup had brought the siblings together again, of course the box of chocolate was a contributing factor also.

By next week, she had forgotten about the gifts altogether. The roses had wilt away and she had replaced it with another bouquet of roses and this time she would seriously try to keep the roses a bit longer than the last. The box of chocolate had joined the rest of her trash in her trash bag that she had not forgot to put out for the truck to take on the scheduled day. More than anything, she had enjoyed staying in her apartment now. Of course there were still remnants of her previous life when she was together with her boyfriend, but the new wallpaper that her brother had picked for her and the new bed sheet that her sister had picked for her had given her apartment a new breath, it almost feels like it is a new apartment altogether. She also payed more attention to herself as she looked in the mirror, she had decided that the message was, in every sense, the kind of message that she needed the most. She should love herself, and she had failed to do so the past few years. She was too busy loving someone else, she forgotten about herself.

Just like she forgot about the gifts again only to be reminded by her credit card bill. What was this purchase on a shop with a French name? She never been to a shop like this before. She was sure of it. She only uses her credit card only for online purchases and an occasional shopping in a clothing department store. She decided she was going to the shop tomorrow and ask the shop about this phantom purchase with her credit card.

Surprisingly it was easy to find and locate the shop; it was just two blocks away from the publishing company. She was glad that everything had come to her before she had asked the shop about the phantom purchase, that happened to not even be phantom.

Some one month ago when she had first heard from her sister that her ex-boyfriend was going to get married with the woman that he had cheated on her with, she felt like she was in a limbo. That was the beginning of her downfall. She stop cleaning her apartment apart from washing dishes, laundry and throwing out the trash, albeit always after the truck had left her building. She had stop trying to find inspiration for her next poetry book. She had stop joining her siblings for random lunch or random weekend getaway. She stopped coming to her parents weekly dinner. She cuts herself from everything that was her life before.

One day her editor sent her an article, a stupid self-help article according to her. The whole article kept on repeating about how important it is for one to love oneself before one can love someone else. It had seemed simple to her at that time, and out of a whim and just to take crack at the article she had walked to the chic flower shop with a French name two blocks away from the publishing company.

She put an order for a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolate, she specifically said red roses because that was her brother’s favourite flower; she also ordered a specific brand of chocolate that she knows her sister would liked. She asked the florist to write, “thou shalt love thyself” on the card. She kept on making sure that the florist remember to send the gifts on Valentine’s Day, no later and no sooner than that. As the florist was swiping her credit card, the florist asked her for the address to where the gifts would be sent to. She gave her apartment’s address to the florist, sign the receipt, and leave the chic flower shop with a French name.

She walked back to the publishing company, smiling to herself. She thinks to herself at how stupid her impulse act was. Who would be sad enough to send themselves a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolate for Valentine’s Day? It was not days later that she would have figured out that it was not pathetic at all. She needed the push, the big push to come back to the life that was hers; who else is better at pushing oneself if not oneself?

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