He knew he should put it down. He really did. He knew, deep inside his heart that, if he could only open his fingers another few centimetres and let it fall, then his world would be back to normal. Ah normal. The word itself sounded funny in his head these days. He remembered a time when he used to despise being normal. It was a time when being normal had walked hand in hand with being boring and he had been dragged along by both of them like a balloon tied to their wrists.
They’d all laughed at him. He couldn’t remember who ‘they’ were any more, but that didn’t matter because they’d all laughed. Even the girls. Especially the girls. He’d once, in an attempt not to be so normal, punched Donnie McCay. Everyone liked Donnie McCay so it certainly wasn’t a normal thing to do, but no one had seemed to care about that as they all punched him back. Even the girls. Especially the girls.
Now, though, normal had to be a good thing. It was something to which he should be aiming. Normal people didn’t do this. With every moment that passed he was moving further from normal. The point of no return was getting ever closer, soon he would be labelled a freak for the rest of his life. Jeered at and taunted by everyone. Even the girls. Especially the girls.
It was his friends fault of course. They’d got him into it; they’d practically forced him to become this weird freak who loitered outside a train station like a big issue sales man who’d forgotten his papers.
Donnie McCay would never have had to do this. Donnie McCay probably didn’t even take the train, he’d have a sports car. Donnie McCay would be normal now. Everyone was normal now. It didn’t make sense, how had he managed to be normal when it was uncool and then weird when normal was what everyone thought you should be?
He should go. Just open his hand, let it fall, and go. She wouldn’t have seen him yet, he could still escape. Without it he’d just be like everyone else. He’d be normal again and, this time, at the right time. Yes, he was going to go. He just needed to open his hand. She had sounded normal, but she must have been putting it on. No normal person would meet him here.
Just drop the rose. Drop it and walk. Back to normality. Back to your normal life. Back to the one bedroom flat, the boring job and the never ending quiet. Back to being alone.
Is that her? It looks a bit like her photo. Maybe the issue wasn’t about whether he was normal or not, maybe it was just him. Maybe if Donnie McCay had been just like him, Donnie McCay would still have been popular and cool? She looked so… so… nice. She wasn’t normal, she was extraordinary. Why was she here, to meet him? He should have brought more roses. One looked so small. She might not see it. He might look too normal.