Flo just couldn’t have a regular bad habit like picking her nose or maybe even biting her nails. Her bad habit was the most embarrassing and childish thing a girl her age could possibly do. Flo’s bad habit was day dreaming. Not day dreaming about the future nor about her goals. No. Nothing like that. Flo had the habit of lying down, closing her eyes and then drifting away mentally into a far world where her hero, Armando resided. Flo knew this form of escapism was not healthy, yet, she couldn’t stop herself.
She had started this habit from a very young age. Initially, it had just been a way to stop her from being bored. Now that she was older though, this habit had become a great part of her life. Sometimes, she laughed at herself for doing it. It wasn’t even as if she was a fan of telenovelas but Amando kept her sane. When she thought about it, she guessed that creating him was a defence mechanism in times when her acute loneliness really bothered her. For a romantic like her, Armando was the only thing that she felt could help her get through those moments when she thought that love was an elusive concept. Or that even if one found love, it was always tainted with betrayal and deceit.
In Flo’s mind-world, Armando is the heir to the Suarez family treasure. After attempting to get married many times, he realizes that all the women who claims to love him only love his money. Hiding the family will, Armando travels to a small village where he disguises himself as a shepherd. Rosa la Flor (this is Flo) a poor country girl comes to him in search of work and Armando is immediately stuck by her beauty. Flo would recount the stories in her head and laugh at herself “Flo, your case is pathetic.” She would say out loud to herself during these mental escapades but the story always continued. Armando sees his future in her eyes and decides that he must marry her.
Armando was handsome. He was tall, tan with eyes as dark as the loneliest, darkest night. His equally dark hair fell to his face usually shielding those sad yet beautiful eyes especially when he worked. His chest was a wall, but his hands were tender and soft. And the weirdest thing was that Flo actually loved Armando, or rather, the concept of him. Whenever she was sad, she would see herself lying on Armando’s laps. His soft hand brushing through her imaginary flowing hair.”Rosa la Flor, mi amor, why do you harbour such sadness in your soul. I am here for you. Speak to me.” Armando would say in a thick spanish accent. She would tell him all she felt, off-load it all to the imaginary man who would always reply. “If sorrow fell like rain, I would catch every last drop so that it might not touch you. I am the sun, you are the flower, I exist to make your colours shine. My love, don’t worry. I am here for you.”
She knew no man on earth spoke that way. She knew that there was no super rain catching love-power. Love did not automatically make all the problems disappear. Flo was aware that there were so many interferences in real life relationships yet, Armando was ingrained in her consciousness. She simply could not (did not want to) do away with him. She wondered if she might need therapy for this, or if other people faced the same problem. Probably, with therapy, she would stop such a childish habit. But deep in her heart, she didn’t want Armando to leave her. He was the only person whom she was certain that he wouldn’t break her heart. “Armando.” She thought to herself. “It would be normal to let you disappear from my consciousness so as to focus on what is real. But what is real? Flesh and blood that walked on this earth have been long forgotten. Stories, wars, people, treasures have been corroded from memory. The fact that I cannot see you does not mean you are not real to me. It doesn’t mean that I cannot tell you what I dare not tell a living soul. It does not mean that I cannot love you. I know it sounds crazy but being crazy beats being bitter. A person like me who cannot fathom the reality of ‘love’ in such a cruel world, if the imaginary will help me to keep believing in the infallible kind of love, then I’d rather be crazy.’ Flower groaned, the rational part of her spoke to her hearing. “Miss Korola ‘Flower’ Jiya, you really need help.”