The old man moved slowly from the bus stop, up to the small house. He glanced side to side, then bent down and pulled a flower from the garden. He shuffled to the curb, and crossed the street. He paused a moment when he passed under the red brick archway before walking to a small tombstone, as grey and flat as the sky that morning. His knees made a cracking sound as he knelt by the grave, placing the flower, and muttering softly.
"You took my mommy's flower." said a small voice behind him. The old man turned to regard the young boy, and stood with a groan.
"Yeah. Yeah I guess I did. Didn't think anyone saw me." The old man brushed dirt from the grey wool of his pants, and ran his thumb over the gold ring on the third finger of his left hand before shoving his hands into the pockets of his worn brown courderoy jacket. The boy looked at the tombstone with wide eyes, then glanced up at the old man.
"Never fall in love, kid," the old man grimaced as he spoke. "It rips you up inside. It turns your head inside out, and it never ever goes away. Not real love anyway. The real stuff, it's forever. Trouble is, nothing else is - everything else goes away and all you got left is love rotting inside you. Ain't no way out once you fall. So, stay away from love, son. It ain't worth what it brings you."
Old eyes, watery and blue met young eyes, deep, brown and bright.
"Tell your mom I'm sorry abut the flower."
The old man turned, and walked away, out to the street. The boy watched from the graveyard as the old man climbed onto the bus. A soft, cool rain fell as the bus took the old man back home, to his wife.