i envisioned hip-checking the other women, throwing my elbows into their jaws, scratching at their made-up faces, all to catch the bouquet & contrive a sign you wouldn’t leave me, but there was no bouquet toss, the ritual too antiquated for the millennial bride & groom who once asked if i wanted to have a threesome & i said no when i really wanted to feel his beard between my thighs & run my tongue over her beautiful inverted nipples, but i was too nervous about the number of hands & what they were & weren’t capable of & i almost asked if they ever found a third, but by the reception the bride had mushrooms & adderall stuffed into the bodice of her dress & the groom had a beer in each fist & it didn’t really feel like an appropriate question to ask on their wedding day & besides, you were there & i thought you’d be jealous if you knew even though it was so long ago because you were already sore that i’d befriended a tattooed poet with the biggest heart i’ve ever known & i should’ve told you i wanted to kiss him, but i didn’t because in a few days we were leaving for this wedding & i spent a bunch of money on the rental car & hotel room & i just wanted to enjoy a weekend with you in the woods, so i didn’t say anything until you asked me about him after the after-party & i told you the truth because that’s what we’d agreed upon, but hours before that we were drunk & coked-up at this wedding in buttfuck vermont & there was no bouquet toss, so instead i went around to all the tables & stole the fat purple & green succulents from the core of each centerpiece, leaving behind baby’s breath & daisies in that chalky floral foam & i didn’t even feel bad about it because whoever made the arrangements sliced the succulents from their roots & shoved them onto wooden dowels & i knew they would die if they weren’t planted in the right water-wicking soil & i’m a selfish drunk (or just selfish all the time) so i went around collecting succulents-on-a-stick & the first few felt like bobbleheads in my hands, but by the time i got to thirteen, i had amassed an unwieldy bouquet that required two hands & on my walk back to our hotel room, i passed you flirting with that chain-smoking blonde who wanted to be the “judith butler of memes” & i heard her say she was allergic to cats which is a deal-breaker for you, but i was still threatened because she was fresh & new & there weren’t ten gallons of hurt between the two of you & anyway, i wanted to work through this jealousy & all jealousy with you & i thought you’d understand that i wanted to be your girlfriend & date the tattooed poet at the same time, because there is so much love in the universe & i really thought you might understand, but i didn’t know you’d get red in the face & yell that you wanted to “beat his ass” & that i’d admit to lying by omission for not telling you sooner i wanted to kiss him & that you’d knock everything off the table, feel bad, pick it up, then knock it down all over again only to launch an open tub of granola across the room, coating our belongings in oats & nuts & after the wedding, back in boston, i shook the succulents until the granola stuck between their appendages fell to the floor & i planted them in the proper soil & in a matter of days little pink roots sprouted.
Raina K. Puels is an MFA candidate at Emerson College. She's the Nonfiction Editor for Redivider and a reader for Ploughshares. Her purple leggings are often bespeckled with glitter and cat hair. You can find her writing in Three Line Poetry, Weave News, and forthcoming in Sidereal, Sick Lit, and Animal.