But the years, boy, the years. The way they pile up like flowers in a ditch. You start to see their decay, and you can sometimes still smell their sweetness, even as they rot, their fragrance turning into something else. You smell them and it sparks a memory, like a piece of music, or a regret that won’t fade.
When you’re young, you feel like you’re driving a whole cart of flowers behind you, with the sun in your face, a smooth wind pushing you on. The road looks wide, but it’s not. That’s the narcissism of youth. Everything is wide and looks like it runs on for miles. Sometimes it does. But there are cracks in the road, potholes, sinkholes, hills you can’t climb, and pulling that wagon can be a chore, and someday it will kill you. Speak of first love, and you’re flying until you see the wrong-doings you commit, the misdeeds, the hesitations. You might as well be driving a cart full of plastic flowers. They won’t fade, but you’ll miss the fragility, the tenderness. And sometimes you’ll be moving those flowers along and you’ll forget to tend to them, and they lose their color and sweetness. And you know, sometimes you’ll forget to water them. But if they’re plastic, it doesn’t matter.