Today felt… normal. So normal in fact that Himchan hazarded a cautious sense of calm as he opened the shop. Something, at least for now, felt nice. Whatever would happen that day, at least there was the serenity now of routine. And order. And even flowers. Opening the door first thing in the morning may have been the greatest treat of all for Himchan – there was nothing quite like walking in and being welcomed by a cloud of flowery perfume. Often it made him smile, and today was no exception.
He went through the regular motions without much of a thought, only realizing when he was done that the shop was, in fact, now open. He’d pulled away the armor-like outer layer of metal that covered the two small windows, and opened them both, so that people could see displays from outside. He cut a few new bouquets (they weren’t anything special, but he figured he may as well make something fresh for a day like today), then placed them by the window. He turned off any necessary UV lights and swept the floor of dust and petals. And now, here he was, standing in the middle of his shop. Had he missed anything? He didn’t think so.
A few customers came in and out. An old woman wanting a nice bouquet for her dining room table. A man hoping to impress a lover. A wife asking for something her family could enjoy. Himchan enjoyed them all. Even when contact with people made him uncomfortable, there was something about the shop that put him at ease. Which was surprising, because even his mother couldn’t do that. He liked to think, even while he loved his music, that working with these flowers was actually his calling. They were, at least, a blessing in disguise, now that he loved and almost cherished their presence in his life.
At about lunchtime, he closed the shop’s door. Not really bothering to change the sign from open to closed (and why would he? There wasn’t any reason, really to actively deter guests) he opened a pre-packed lunch and began munching away happily, feeling calm and at peace.
One Month Prior.
He was in the men’s bathroom on campus. One of those class buildings, on a floor that wasn’t really occupied. He needed to be alone, and he needed it now. He had practically stormed in here, breathing heavily, dark eyes darting frantically around the room. He couldn’t get himself to look in the mirror; all he could think of was next week. Of the package in his hand, with shiny plastic covering a cheaply made black robe. Of… what came after.
He couldn’t imagine a life after. School, for years, had been his rock. He’d made friends there. He’d felt accepted there. Of course everyone promised to stay in touch, and of course Himchan had been offered to join an orchestra as a job but… he knew that he had priorities now. The real world, suspended above him as he’d moved easily through college, had seemed so far away then. Even if he could reach out and touch it, school had been a barrier. A safe guard, from all the memories and worries of his youth. Perhaps not entirely, but more than now. His hands shook – they always fucking shook when he got like this – as he realized that it had all come crashing down now. All of it. He’d have to live with his mother, because no one else would take care of her. He’d have to take over the shop. He’d have to… He’d have to.
He dropped the package of his graduation clothes and covered his face in his hands, sobbing. What was he supposed to do? What could he do? Even in some building on campus, probably filled with people, he felt alone. Cold. Scared. He almost hadn’t felt like this since grade school… and wondered bleakly if the best way to handle it would be to find something sharp. A trembling finger ran along the delicate lines of scar tissue imprinted on the backside of his wrist. No. He forced himself to look in the mirror. He couldn’t do that. He could… handle being an adult. He could. Except not. He really, really could not and he felt that he could not and he was sure he could not because… because, he could not. He sniffled, not realizing that he had actually been crying this entire time. He wiped his runny nose with his sleeve.
Stumbling towards the door, he reached for the handle. Perhaps, he thought to himself, the best way to deal with this was to leave the room altogether.