Boutonnière was posted at The Lascaux Review Flash fiction contest and was based upon an image they had posted for “inspiration.” Their website has unfortunately since gone down.
Here is the story as it appeared there:
Sara gently dusted the blue bottle, taking care not to touch the dried boutonnière sticking out of the top. The dried rose, backed with baby’s breath and white silken leaves, had graced the top of the china cabinet for as long a Sara could remember.
“Aunt Lilly?” Sara asked as her great aunt limped into the room, “What’s this from?”
“What dear?” The old woman stopped to lift up the glasses she wore on a chain around her neck.
“Oh, my.” Lilly dropped her glasses back down. She hobbled to a chair and seated herself carefully. “Oh, my. It never occurred to me you wouldn’t know. It belonged to my fiancé.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
“Don’t be sorry, Dear. I’m glad you asked. Charles was my one true love. He was killed in the war, not long after our engagement.” Lilly’s eyes began to glisten. “He didn’t have any family, anyone else but me. That rose, a photograph, and three letters are all I have left of him.
He wore that the night he asked me to marry him. We danced the night away at the USO. I swear that man was more graceful than Fred Astaire! He was so graceful, so beautiful…” Lilly’s eyes were bright and alive with the memories. “And he was the sweetest man in the world.”
“Is that why you never married?”
“Child, in my heart and soul, I was more married to Charles than most people could ever be to anyone.”