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A Rose by Any Other Name

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Carlos sighed looked around the room, overcome with a feeling of melancholy he couldn’t quite shake. Almost the entire apartment was packed up now, the bed replaced by a simple air mattress, boxes stacked haphazardly on top of one another from floor to ceiling, covering the couch and even the old rackety kitchen table that had serviced them faithfully for years. Although there were still plenty of boxes, the space felt very empty in the pale yellow light of the setting sun. He was going to miss this place. They’d been happy here, together. He’d been happier than any other time in his life.

Mittens wove herself around his legs, and he absentmindedly knelt down to pet her. She wasn’t  having a good time either, with the entire house a mess and the clear understanding that something was happening. But she, of course, had no way to know what that something was. She mewed plaintively, and he kissed the top of her head before carefully luring her into her carrier with some treats. The look of betrayal she gave him when he closed the hatch behind her brought a brief smile to his face, and he tickled her nose through the mesh of the carrier. These were the last boxes for today, just the important stuff and Mittens. The movers would come to collect all the rest tomorrow.

He shook his head, trying to clear his mind, and looked at the last few little knickknacks on the shelf in front of him, memories that needed to be packed up and moved out, across the country. To a new place and a new house, where he would need to start all over again making memories. He picked up a little velvet box, the beautiful deep blue colour standing out sharply against his skin. Carefully, he hugged the box to his chest, opened it to reveal a beautiful little glass rose.

 

~*~

 

“Here,” said Juan, thrusting the box awkwardly into his hands, “this is for you.”. He wasn’t looking at Carlos, shuffling his feet as he looked down and waited for his boyfriend to open his gift.

Carlos smiled, confused, and opened the box. From inside, the little glass ornament seemed to sparkle at him, catching the light just so and casting a red glow right over his heart. He gasped, picked it out carefully, and stared at the little jewel in wonder.

“What… what’s this for?” he whispered, remembering the many roses he’d received from his partner over the preceding years. They were Juan’s favoured way of apologising when he’d done something stupid, and Carlos remembered many a time when he’d found a red rose on his pillow the day after a fight. This little glass treasure was beautiful, but he didn’t remember Juan fucking up badly enough to require this kind of a gift lately. Not that he was complaining, mind you. He wouldn’t dare.

His boyfriend shrugged, and mumbled: “It’s… you know that I’m bad at… at commitment. And I don’t think I can give you a ring. But I wanted… I wanted to give you something to–”

Carlos pushed him against the wall and kissed him silly.

 

~*~

 

Carlos smiled fondly at the memory, took the rose out of the box and held it up to the sun, letting the rays reflect of the red glass and creating an aurora of colours. He would miss this place, to be sure, but the most important things he could take with him. He put away the rose and closed the little box, placing it in a large crate labelled ‘fragile’, and carefully fitting in the last few other objects from the shelf before closing the crate and taping it securely shut. Mittens mewed in the background, and he resolved to give her many treats after they got to their new home, as an apology. He looked around the room again, taking in all of the familiar sights. The table at which they’d had their breakfast, the nook where he had snuggled against Juan on the couch (the door Juan had pushed him up against many, many times), the spot they’d built Mittens’ cat-tree together from scratchAll the memories, all those moments they shared – how was it time had passed so quickly? It felt like yesterday when they’d moved in, and now–

The door slammed open and he jumped as Juan shouted: “Carlos, you sap! Are you being maudlin again?! Hurry up with that box I got the engine running!”

He picked up the crate under one arm, carefully hoisted Mittens’ carrier onto his back, looked around the room one final time, and went to join his boyfriend on their newest adventure.

 

 

~fin~