had been propped upright
in the back seat of Troy's sedan.
He took the time to position them carefully
nestling the bouquet betwixt his
hard hat and a case of Coors Original
which, with any luck, would aid
in the redemption process
picking up where the flowers would end
and increasing the odds
of horizontal reconvergence.
Troy savored that part of romantic quarrels.
He, like his contemporaries, had
become accustomed to the delicate cycle
and reveled in the art of dangling in the
emotional no man's land tightly tethered
to relationships which burn too fiercely
for their own general health.
His mother always warned him
of that passed down zealous passion
but Troy was the type of man
who sought his own Battle of Waterloo.
Besides, Mary loved the flowers every time
and the cans of pale lager
could soften the edges
of any jagged evening.
The summer heat subsided
by the time he hit the highway.
Air conditioning seemed to be
a waste, the compressor stealing gas
so Troy rolled down the windows
of his car and laid his arm out.
A feeling of July reflected from his limb
and smacked him in the face
with decades of fond remembrance.
It was the first time he'd allowed
himself a windblown ride this season.
The thought of summers dead and brewing
added to the admixture
of pleasant mental images--
he and Mary rolling in the dark
like apologetic panda bears
though it wasn't all black and white.
Still, he soaked the night
through pores as best he could
anticipating solace in the form of his beloved.
Counting down the miles in his head
he joined the chorus
of a song played on the radio
that fit the mood too well.
When he arrived at Mary's cottage
in that godforsaken valley
he heard his mother chuckle
at his stubbornness and swore
as soon as he reached back
to grab his feeble gift
and saw that all the petals
had been blown off by the wind.
Troy cracked a can of Coors
and thought of what to tell his girl.
The ride home was in silence.
The boys were at the bar.
"American Gods" by Neil Gaiman.