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September 14, 2010 by The Citron Review

by Diane D. Gillette


Evan squatted in the shelter of the lilac bush outside Amanda’s window. He remembered last spring when they were both still fresh from high school, new to the college life. Amanda would leave the window open while they made love so the smell of lilacs would envelope them in a sea of pleasure as they explored each others’ bodies. Well, “make love” was Evan’s term. Amanda preferred to . . . well, that other word. Evan felt himself blush.

Today he’d come to her door, knowing her parents were gone for the weekend and offered a basket of lilacs he cut from the bush on campus near the chancellor’s residence, sure she couldn’t resist. She’d find it sexy that he’d almost been arrested by campus security trying to steal the flowers for her. But she didn’t look him in the eye. He could tell by the way she tapped her thigh and stared past him to the yard beyond that there was already someone else. Tap tap, tappity tap. Sending out the unspoken message in her own twisted version of Morse code. Her blouse was buttoned wrong and the shorts she pulled on didn’t match it. Her nipples stood erect through the thin cotton.

So he left the basket of lilacs sitting on her front step and crept around to the lilac bush outside her bedroom. The aroma was almost overpowering, but he liked it. He felt invisible, sight and smell. Camouflaged like a prey against his predator.

He used to think it was erotic the way she insisted on leaving the blinds open.

Some guy lay across her bed waiting. He was way too old for her. He had to be pushing thirty. His face lit up when Amanda entered the room carrying a heaping bowl of ice cream. He held the bowl for her as she slowly unbuttoned the shirt and left it puddled on the floor with her shorts.

Evan watched the two of them feed each other. He was sure the ice cream was chocolate chip. It was Amanda’s favorite. They sat in nothing but their underwear and when the guy licked some ice cream off her breast, Amanda looked toward the window and licked her lips and softly moaned. Her eyes met Evan’s and her lips came together in a smile. Evan was sick right there under the lilac bush. The stench of his own vomit mingled with the the lilac perfume that surrounded him. He was sure he would never like the scent of lilacs again.


Diane D. Gillette has an MFA from Emerson College, a day job that is unrelated to writing, and two demanding cats.  Her short fiction has appeared in such journals as Hobart, Sniplits, Every Day Fiction, Inch, and Johnny America. When she is not busy enjoying Chicago with the love of her life, she is hard at work on her first novel.

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George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library. "Sunflower." The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

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