"Yellow," I said. "It's got to be yellow."
"Oh, hi, Johnny, I didn't know it was you," said the cashier. Only she didn't say that.
I picked out a synthetic flower from one of the stalls. After checking to make sure that it wasn't silk (I don't buy silk; ethics, y'know), I toddled back to the desk and handed over some money. Thankfully, the smiling lady behind the counter didn't think to ask why I was buying a flower, for which I didn't really have an answer. I pocketed it and headed on to Woodcraft.
I was eleven. I'd just started secondary school and I'd spent a large amount of time sat next to the same girl by virtue of the fact that our surnames were the closest to each other on the register. I supposed, during some of my more thoughtful moments, that I'd taken a fancy to her - I hadn't, as it turned out later on, seeing as how six months later I'd started sexually fantasising about a completely different girl - but, from what I could tell, she was pretty and clever, and friendly (insofar as a girl and a boy can be friends in year 7), even if she did spend rather a large amount of time brushing her hair - including during classes.
On the other side of her sat a different girl with whom she would gossip. The conversation went something like this:
"...and then, when he said goodbye, he handed me something, and guess what, it was a silk flower! A little white one!"
"...oh my God, that's amazing! I wish a boy would buy me something."
I took the hint - or, at least, I thought it was a hint (although I'd just been eavesdropping, I probably wasn't meant to hear) - and, as I rationalised, I was a boy, I could buy her something, it may as well be a silk flower, except I wouldn't buy silk, I'd find one of a different material, and there was a shop that sold them opposite the hall where I went to Woodcraft, and I got £3 pocket money every week, this was perfect!
I'd even assumed yellow to be her favourite colour, on account of the fact that she was the only one to ever use the word jaune in French, and so everything managed to fall beautifully into place by the time I bought it.
By the time I got home that evening, however, I suddenly realised that I had absolutely no idea how to get it to her. I couldn't just rock up to school and hand it over: people would see. Her included. My bully for the year had kept punching me until I gave him enough clues to work out who it was, and had almost worked it out - only he was now spreading it around that I was gay, so I assumed he'd moved on. In the end, I decided that the best way would be to post it to her anonymously. I didn't know her address, but I presumed I could get it from the 'phone book.
Her surname wasn't a very common one, so I assumed that I'd just find it easily.
In the end I picked one from the 25 addresses that came with the surname - the one that lived the closest to our school - bought a Jiffy bag, placed the flower into a cardboard tube that came out of a toilet roll, put the whole thing into the bag, sealed, stamped and posted it to that address, and that was the last I ever saw of that.
Much later in the year, I overheard her giving her house number to somewhere. It wasn't the number I'd sent it to. Later still, she said her road name. It wasn't the road I'd sent it to.
I'd sent a flower to someone who didn't live in the house I'd sent it to. Although my mother (who was In On The Plan) reassured me that, if it was meant to get to her and this was a family member, it would get to her. Deep down, in my heart of heart of hearts, I knew that it wouldn't make it to her. As far as I later became aware, her parents were separated, and she may not have even lived in any house that had the name I found in the 'phone book...
In any case, once I'd lost my affection for her, it soon became immaterial.
Lightsinthesky got a kiss from her at one point. I told his girlfriend.