From a prompt by Lizzie Wilson
She wore a violet flower in her hair that could not be looked at for to long, because the more someone looked the louder the sound of the color violet grew in their ears. Its scent brought the feel of its gentle petals being stroked along your skin. The longer one smelled, the more intimate the stroking became. The result was a line to meet her and a crowd of those who had come too near too long clustered away from her. The blossom attracted and compelled, but its beauty was relentless, and so those who had come too close huddled they whispered what a wonder it was as they shook their heads and stepped even further away.
They called it a synesthesia flower, and its strange powers made her the toast of the gala, celebrated by people who could not be in its presence too long but who wished that they could. And they were in awe of her ability to wear it, and wondered how she could live with all the sensations of the most beautiful flower in the world crashing over here.
They remembered the flower, but they did not remember her: the color of her eyes reminded them of the smell of coffee at dawn on a camp out, wafting through brisk, crisp air. The sound of her voice was the taste of dark chocolate. The one time she danced, the room was a symphony she was subtly conducting. They noticed the flower and not the woman because the flower’s effect was less potent: for all that the flower did, it was still clearly a flower. But she reminded them so strongly of other things that they could not see her at all.
This is why she grew these flowers, watered with drops of her own blood, and why she made the synesthetic shoes she wore, stitched with needles soaked in her tears. To be remembered as the bearer of these strange objects was, at least, to be remembered, to have a part of herself recognized. She would rather be “the woman with the flower,” than a vivid recollection of the lullaby the babysitter you had a child’s crush on sang you the night your parents were late coming home. She would rather be the woman in the shoes than she scent of fresh grass on your grandfather’s tomb after the spring rains. At least she had grown the flower. At least she had made the shoes. They remembered something about her.
These objects, too, were something that she and the people she met had in common: she did not know what they would hear when she tousled her hair in the sunlight. She did not experience the pre-Raphealite paintings they found in her scent. But the flower they saw was a weight in her hair, she wore the shoes they noticed.
So she made her own fantastic clothes out of pieces and parts of herself: dresses that ruffled, and earrings that chimed, and a leather jacket that smelled of tanning and hide.
And though the experiences of these objects were very different than the experiences of her, she could learn who she wanted to spend time with by how they responded to the things she wore. Whether a man was cruel or kind, a woman bitter or forgiving, a teacher open or insecure, a doctor dogmatic or curious.
It was a useful tool, and in time she came to use it so well that she forgot it was a tool. She also began to think of herself as a collection of strange and exotic costume pieces that she wore, and to experience herself as dresses and jackets and shoes and flowers in her hair.
One day, stepping out of the shower, she saw her naked form in the mirror, and turned away. Went and put a flower in her hair, and then returned to look. For a moment she saw her own eyes, and looked in them.
“I contain worlds,” she said, in awe, then blinked, and saw only the flower again.
It was much easier to see what everyone else did.