Axel has seen too much, but he can't think about that now. If he does, the image of his mother and the broken glass will loop through his brain over and over again. He thinks if he can just keep quiet, no one will see that life for the fourteen-year-old boy living alone with his senile great-grandmother is slowly falling apart.
Rose has left school; and her mum and dad; and the counsellors; and the concerned way they all have of looking at her as if they were trying to peer right through her. She is looking for signs and signals when she sees the boy perched on the cliff top looking like he might jump. And he is definitely the message.
Axel and Rose tread different paths, each close to the edge of sanity. Their paths are different but their lives are not: they are like exotic flowers, clipped, battered and pale, and stranded outside the warmth and shelter of a hothouse.