prompt: flirt, pink, open

There’d been a row of pink tulips lining the path, the last time Stacy walked up their stone entryway. Now there was nothing but snow, the brightness of spring buried. When she reached the door, Stacy didn’t need to turn the knob to know it would no longer be left open for her, that Carol had locked it–changed the locks even–months ago.

Now, Stacy knocked and waited.

Carol took her time answering, the dog they’d rescued together barking as she waited, as if labeling her an intruder. She’d missed Rose for months, the way she acted like a lapdog even though she weighed nearly ninety pounds. It was a manageable feeling to focus on, compared to the bone-aching loss of Carol.

The door opened, and there wasn’t a welcoming smile, only a barely there flash of pain in Carol’s eyes before she shuttered it all away behind a wall that Stacy no longer had permission to pass through. It was hard to believe this woman used to laugh with her, flirt with her, used to love her–How quickly all of it could turn into this, buried like pink tulips under the snow.