Previously: “Humper-Monkey’s Ghost Story.”
This week, a little something for Valentine’s Day (since that’s, y’know, today and all): “It Only Meant Love In 1350.” Originally posted to the Creepypasta Wikia by user Ninalyn in 2015, it tackles first loves, toxic relationships, and horror all in one go. The title, as the story makes clear, comes from what was once known as floriography; also called the “language of flowers,” this romantic practice communicated meaning through artfully arranged bouquets.
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Although floriography is largely associated with the Victorian era — interest in it soared in the 19th century, particularly in Europe and the United States — it’s been around for much longer than that; indeed, if you’re familiar with Shakespeare, then you already know that it was well established by the beginning of the 17th century: It features prominently in Act IV, scene v of Hamlet — the scene frequently referred to as “Ophelia’s mad scene.” You probably know it, even if you think you don’t: “There’s rosemary — that’s for remembrance,” she says. “Pray you, love, remember.” Do you remember? That’s floriography right there. Pansies are for thoughts; fennel for flattery; columbines for inconstancy; rue for regret; daisies for loyalty, gentleness, and innocence; violets for faithfulness, and for modesty… Ophelia actually tells us quite a lot about exactly why she’s so distraught in that scene.
It’s a shame no one was really, truly listening to her.
Floriography has fallen out of use in the centuries since then — hence the title of this pasta. But if the year seems odd to you — 1350 is the medieval era, not the Victorian one — look again. As Ninayln pointed out in the comments, red roses didn’t take on the meaning of true love until later on. In the Middle Ages, true love was represented by white roses; indeed, white roses were abundant in medieval gardens for this very reason.
But if you’re not careful, love can be a killer.
I’m sorry if this seems incoherent. It’s just the smell.
Where should I start? Sophomore year of high school, I guess. The year was 1997, that dumb “MmmBop” song was on the radio, and I was mooning over Mallory Winters in biology. I figured she’d never even notice me — I was that girl who sits in the very back row in braces and skirts that were outdated before they ever left the Kmart. Mallory? She was a vision straight off television in her tie and tights, the first freshman at Truman High to ever be crowned homecoming queen. I didn’t even make homecoming peasant. Nobody asked me to go.
And, I mean, then there was that part, too. It’s still pretty wild for kids in high school to go out and say they’re gay, but when the Internet was still mostly Usenet boards and Internet relay chat? No way.
So I sat in the back of the class and took my notes and watched Mallory take her notes, and kept my head down when people teased me for working on the school newspaper. And then one day her name came up for a newspaper featurette.
The Truman Standard had this thing we did every month where we’d interview a notable athlete or two — football, basketball, cheerleading, you get the idea. It was —
Sorry, I think I’m going to be sick.
[Photo via Pixabay/Pexels]