The Flower Man

One warm night, the rain still clinging to the dirt where the grass should be, a stranger slowly made his way across the cold stone bridge. Across the waterless river and past the gas station with the dim lighting. His dog followed at his heel, looking curiously onwards past the umbrella his master carried of deep azure. A bright orange scarf draped across the green of his jacket. And his blue hat. A small flower peaked out from the brim.

As the old man walked down the gray dreary streets past the darkened houses of gray and black, children peaked from the lifeless curtains. The man continued walking 'til he came to a house.

The grass hadn't been cut, the shutters—half falling off, shattered curtains hung in shreds, and the zero above the door that was apart of the number 700 was falling off. A sign in the front yard read "for Sale" The little old man disappeared inside.

The next morning the people woke up in their dark gray rooms to the sound of a hammer. They rose from their dark gloomy rooms and went about their daily usual activities. As they passed their new neighbor they kept their heads straight ahead down the road as he pushed his small little cutter, humming as he did. He began to sing as he got out the paint and began brushing the color onto his shutters and house. Slowly, color began to seep onto his house. The leaves of his trees turned green as the gray dull dripped away. The old man didn't seem notice as he lifted his shutters from the ground and hung them back up. He sewed new curtains at night by and hung them up—now free to blow with the wind and finally, he took one nail and hammered it above the door, putting the zero back in its proper place.

The people kept focused on the road, but their eyes couldn't help—but wander. The only ones who curiously dared to look on where a few children who had strayed from their parents view, lost in the gray. A tiny young girl stood on the sidewalk and looked onwards at the old man as his house became brighter than the whole city. Brighter than she had ever seen, filled with colors she didn't even dream in.

The next morning the old man was again working, but this time, he sat silently at the edge of the grass next to the fence and dug deep into the ground to make room for the vibrant flowers that lay beside him, their petals turned towards the sun that seemed to want to hide away in the clouds of gray. The colors that he planted were like no other anyone had seen. Ss the people of the town, as they woke from their dim gray beds, and put on their gray suits and ties, walked past the old mans house they turned their noses up, but secretly wished to know the colors that splashed the tiny house and the man. The man remained silent until the same little girl from yesterday ventured away from her mother. "What are you doing, sir?" her childlike voice rang out. The old man looked up, his hands covered in soil and smiled. He handed a single flower to the little girl. "Why I'm planting flowers," the old man replied. The girls smile instantly brightened as color flooded her face. Her once dark curls now bounced with red at her shoulders and the gray slipped down away from her, even to her toes that became purple. Her eyes lit up with glee and astonishment. The old man nodded to her and she skipped away dancing through the street passing by every man, woman and child that remained gray. The old man looked onwards as the small little girl stopped in front of the fountain in the center of the street. A boy sat there, his sad gray eyes cast downwards looking into the non-existent water, though the boy, small as he was, could have filled the fountain with his tears if he wanted to, but he just sat motionless. The red-haired girl approached him softly, and touching his shoulder, offered him the flower from her hand. He looked up with his sad grays eyes and took the green stem in his hand and color crept into his every corner, as his eyes gave way to blue, his expression to realization. The old man looked onward. He smiled.