Dylan is patiently waiting in line at a floral shop. He has five stemmed roses in his hand for a special girl on his mind. They’re having lunch together for the first time on this Saturday, and Dylan is anxious, nervous and excited about it all. There are only three people in front of him, and he is in no rush at all. He’s in his uniform because he has work in about an hour at 2:00. He’s working a full eight-hour shift at Sam’s Club as a stocker. The floral shop is only a few minutes away from it. He’s excited because there seems to be a pretty, attractive girl at the register. She’s a brunette with blue eyes and a pretty smile. Dylan tries to look at her nametag, but he can’t see the name on it. He needs to get a closer look. Eventually, it’s his turn in line. The girl smiles at him with her perfect white teeth and motions for him to come to the register. He approaches the register, and he can finally see that the girl’s name is Emily. She says, “Good afternoon, sir, how are you doing?”
Dylan smiles and responds, “I’m doing alright. I’m just little anxious, nervous and excited, so a pretty good combination.”
Emily laughs and asks why Dylan feels the way he feels. Dylan explains, “Well, I’m taking this pretty, amazing girl out on a date for the first time today, and I’m so scared. I just want it to be perfect and for us to take things to the next level and all.”
Emily nods her head in understanding Dylan, and she says to him that all he has to do is be himself and everything will fall in to place naturally. “Plus, you’re on the right track too with the roses. I know that she’ll definitely love them. I wish guys at my high school would give me roses, but they just want to ‘shoot their shots on IG or snap,’ and it’s just so lame. You know what I mean?”
Dylan shakes his head and explains that he doesn’t have social media. He’s really old fashioned. It came to a shock to Emily, and she asks him how old he is. Dylan responds that he’s 30 years old. Emily is impressed that he doesn’t have social media, then Dylan smiles and asks, “So what does shooting the shot mean? Is it like a bucket or something?”
Emily laughs and says, “Oh my gosh, you seriously don’t know? I mean, it’s something like that. Hold up, let me get my phone out and show you what I mean.”
Emily gets out her nice iPhone and shows Dylan some messages of guys “shooting their shot” with her. He got close to her and saw all kinds of weird messages and pictures on her phones. Dylan shakes his head and says, “Ok so let me get this right. Guys send you messages about how ‘bad,’ ‘delicious,’ ‘exquisite,’ and ‘fine’ you are, and if their compliment is good enough to you, then you proceed to talk to them?”
“Yeah pretty much, romance and chivalry are dead,” Emily says.
“Whoa, whoa, don’t say such things. Yes, there are guys that are no longer chivalrous or romantic, but there are a few of us that are hopeless romantics in this world. Don’t worry, your knight in shining armor is coming to save you.”
Emily appreciated the words, and Dylan paid $18.50 for his five roses. He thanked Emily, looked at his roses and handed her one of the roses. Emily smiles at the sweet gesture and thanks him for the rose. Dylan smiles and says, “It’s no problem young lady, you’re absolutely gorgeous and deserve all the roses in the world for your sweetness.”
Emily blushes, and Dylan for a second thinks about asking for her number. However, he changes his mind because he already has a special girl waiting for him.
Dylan heads to work with his four roses, and he makes it to Sam’s Club with 30 minutes to spare. He walks in and says hi to a few people along the way. Then, he finally makes it to the back room and sees a few people eating their lunches in the break room. He looks to his right, and he sees the only black person in the break room, his coworker and friend Elijah. Elijah is listening to music on his phone and scrolling on Facebook. Dylan sees Elijah and yells, “Yo, what up my brother?”
Elijah hears Dylan, pulls out his headphones and looks at Dylan. He shakes his head, chuckles and says, “Hey what’s up man.”
“Nothing much, just happy and excited to be here. Happy to be alive, what are you listening to ?” Dylan asks.
“That’s what’s up, man. And I’m just listening to J. Cole’s ‘No Role Models.’ Such a good song, man,” Elijah responds.
Elijah starts singing a little bit to Dylan, but there’s a little part that’s weird to Dylan. It’s part of the chorus, it’s “Don’t save her, she don’t wanna be saved.” Dylan didn’t understand that part. Then, Elijah asks, “By the way, what do you got in your hands? Do you have a secret admirer or something?”
Dylan didn’t understand, but then he realizes that he has the four roses in his hand. He forgot to put them in his locker. He quickly ran to his locker making sure he was hiding the flowers. He didn’t want them to be seen. Then, he opens his locker and places the roses in his locker. Then, he rushes back to the break room to Elijah. He’s out of breathe, and Elijah asks him if he’s alright. Dylan tells him that he’s fine and begs Elijah to not tell anyone about the roses. Elijah promises to keep the roses a secret, then he asks Dylan about the roses. However, Dylan doesn’t want to say. He doesn’t want Elijah to know who he’s taking out on a date. Elijah asks him how come he doesn’t want to tell him, but Dylan tells Elijah that he’s just not comfortable in sharing information about the roses. Dylan expects Elijah to persist with the questions, but Elijah decides to drop it. This is a relief to Dylan, but then Elijah adds, “I don’t understand why flowers are so romantic to girls sometimes.”
Dylan frowns and asks Elijah what he mean. Elijah continues, “I mean, flowers are the most inconvenient romantic gift ever to me. Like those roses you got probably cost $20 maybe $30 dollars top. Roses are just so expensive for no reason. Then, a girl now has to buy a vase for the roses because if she doesn’t then they’ll die. So, it’s not really a romantic gift if each party has to pay some money for said gift.”
Dylan just shakes his head and says, “No bro, like you don’t understand. You see a rose is like a delicate, sweet poem. It speaks a different language to a woman. It makes her feel loved and appreciated, Elijah.”
“You know what else makes a woman feel appreciated? Food, time, candy, chocolates, poetry, a love letter, hot Cheetos and so many other things, like where’s the creativity and ingenuity at these days? Flowers are just gonna die, and it’s such a waste of money. There are plenty of other things to give a girl than flowers, I swear,” Elijah exclaims.
“So, I’m guessing you’re never gonna buy a girl flowers then,” Dylan asks.
Elijah laughs and responds, “I’ll probably reluctantly buy flowers for my soulmate or something if they mean so much to her. It’ll probably be if we’re dating for years or something, never the first few dates at all.”
Dylan is confused as to why Elijah wouldn’t buy flowers for a girl on a first date. They both look at the clock and realize they have five minutes left till work. So, Dylan asks Elijah why he wouldn’t give a girl flowers on a first date. Elijah responds, “Well, excluding the cost and inconvenience of them, they bring off the wrong impression. They show that you’re desperate to impress someone with a gift and not by your personality. Also, you’re dependent on a material thing making you look good to a woman. And it sends off the wrong message to a girl in a way.”
“What message is that?” Dylan asks.
“In my opinion, roses are only given because of what you look like on the outside. You see, roses are pretty to look at, and you’re basically telling a girl that she’s pretty to look at with roses. I’m just speaking about a first date, by the way. It’s not the case if you’ve been with someone for years.”
Dylan just shakes his head and tells Elijah that it’s not true at all. Dylan explains that flowers are so romantic to girl, and Elijah just wouldn’t understand because he’s never experienced love. Elijah laughs and says, “That’s true, I’ve never been in love. Maybe you know more than me, and I’m tripping. Also, if those flowers are for a date, I would just do a single rose, but that’s just my advice.”
Dylan shakes his head and reluctantly thanks Elijah for the advice. They talk for a few minutes later, then 2:00 hits. They clock in, and it’s officially time to work.
Dylan and Elijah are working together stocking in their area. They do good work, and it’s eventually 6:00. It’s time for their hour-long break.
Dylan rushes to the backroom, clocks out and rushes to his locker. He grabs the roses and puts them behind his back. He’s about to leave the backroom, when he’s stopped by Elijah. Elijah asks him if they’re having lunch together, but Dylan explains that he has plans with someone. Elijah doesn’t ask any other questions and lets Dylan go. Dylan rushes out of Sam’s Club, goes to his car and waits patiently for his “date.” He’s holding the roses behind his back. A few minutes pass, and he finally sees the woman that’s on his mind. She’s walking to him with her Sam’s Club uniform on as well, and Dylan can’t help but show off a big smile. The woman eventually reaches the car and says, “Hey Dylan what’s up?”
“Hey Melanie, are you ready to go?” Dylan asks.
“Yeah, let’s do it.”
This is the end of “The White Mask: Part One.”
Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story.
On Thursday, I will be sharing and posting part two of “The White Mask.”