October Bloom: "Leave Behinds"

Many thanks to Adrienne W. for sharing a good deed experience that inspired me to write this month’s Blooming Good flash fiction story titled Leave Behinds. Here’s an excerpt from what Idea Igniter Adrienne sent:

“…he did it because it was the right thing to do. Since then, I have
started picking up trash on my walks too.”

Leave Behinds

Every evening Jack experienced himself aging into senior hood. He rested to regain his breath on the landing leading to his 4th floor, East New York, Brooklyn studio. He had lived in the equally aging walk-up for 47 years. Most nights Jack stared into the mirror that hung between two street- facing windows. He fixated on how much the gray hairs on his head had overtaken the brown. One June night, he noticed two hooded boys on the street below carrying hefty garbage bags. They stopped near his stoop, picking up everything in sight. No fast food wrapper, styrofoam container, or chicken wing bone escaped their gloved hands as they tossed the trash into the bags. 

The next morning, Jack went downstairs to a welcome sight. He gazed at the beauty of cleared ground surrounding sparse trees that pleasantly disrupted the crumpling sidewalks on his block. The boys had exposed all the brown soil patches too long buried under debris. Jack stood longer, recalling the times he would bring his forever girlfriend from high school flowers on Fridays. She turned out to be not-so-forever. She left their studio 46 years ago after he fell on hard times. Occasionally, he still took a flower home to partake of something beautiful and real.

That afternoon Jack emptied his mason jar filled with his savings, walked to the subway station, and rode the J train six stops to the closest garden store. He purchased as many seed packets as his coins could cover, with enough money left for a small trowel. Back home he got to work pecking the dirt and seeding flowers near his place, then picked up the boys’ trail to plant his leave-behinds around the neighborhood.