The day she finds out, Jessica has to work. Her heart is broken, but she still showers, dresses and is at the shop, ready to open up, by 9am.
It is hard to make it through – everything, from the heartfelt words on funeral flowers sent to commemorate a marriage that’s lasted for decades to the kindness of a get well soon message to the cheesiness of the words accompanying a flashy gesture to an obviously new lover – makes her eyes sting with unshed tears.
She is glad that her colleague is off sick. She needs some time alone.
She runs her finger down the stem of a rose, grateful for the sharp prick of its thorns that causes blood to bead, crimson and sudden. She shreds tissue paper anxiously, ties raffia in pointless, fidgety bows. She does all that to stop herself from checking her phone, because she doesn’t want to hear that he’s sorry; that it means nothing. She’s not ready to hear that yet. She wants it to mean something, in a way, because it would be doubly gutting, somehow, to feel this shit because of something that was meaningless to him.
But the routine of the day – the orders, the queries, the deliveries – it’s not enough to take her mind off things. By 3pm, she’s itching for revenge. And she has the weapons for revenge right at her fingertips.
The bouquet she makes is beautiful. She wants it to be hard to throw it straight in the trash. It’s all springlike – tulips and snowdrops and hyacinths – the promise of new beginnings. She wants it to contrast with the message she writes on the card.
‘I’m sorry, I made a mistake. I can’t do this to Jess. I don’t want to see you anymore.’