I waited, deliberating over the explosion of flowers that lay before me. Overwhelmed isn’t a strong enough word to begin to describe the situation.
Hmmmmm. I thought, looking from plant to plant to plant. Reds, pinks, purples, yellows, every color shouted, “Pick me! I’m the one!”
But they weren’t. Not a single one.
“Errrrrrmmmmm . . .” I felt my eyes widen as my mind ground to a halt. All around me others moved around me, busy on their pre-Valentine’s day shopping spree.
“Can I help you sweetie?” Someone called from within the depths of the flowers. I hadn’t been called sweetie by a stranger since elementary school. All the teachers just called everyone that.
“Um . . . yes, I’m here to buy flowers.” Yeah it was lame. I was lame. It was the day before Valentine’s day and I was blanking on what kind of flowers to get the love of my life.
A woman popped up from behind a clump of green filler. She smiled at me and wove her way between the piles of flora.
“Well, I think you came to the right spot than mister.” She turned away from me and gestured at a gigantic cold room with freezer doors. “Can I interest you in some of our pre-made arrangements?”
They were beautiful, placed perfectly every way you looked at it.
I shook my head and took a step closer to the mess of colors. “Naah, can I build a custom bouquet?”
The woman paused, lingering by the cold room door, as if to say, “Are you sure?”
Oh I was sure. I was going to be a man and build my own custom bouquet, just for my Valentine. I nodded.
“Okay what would you like to start with?” She began pointing out different flowers. Then the different filler. And then the different colors you needed to make to help the bouquet fill out.
My jaw dropped open. “Uuuuuhh”
What are you a caveman? I yelled in my head. Pick something already!
“Let’s try those pink roses there, and then maybe some spider mums, some of those button thingies.”
The woman picked out each flower, fingers moving through the assorted field. All the while she kept up a running commentary. She told me how much I was spending, how the colors matched, and how much my true love was going to enjoy this bouquet.
I looked at the bouquet, and felt my heart drop.
“What? What is it?” She asked, noticing my crest-fallen face.
She nodded her head and then obliged me.
“Don’t worry we’ll get it.” She said with a smile.
Three bouquets later I was in a bind.
“I’m so sorry. I am so so so sorry. I just can’t get this.” I shook my head and stepped back from the numerous displays. I could tell she was on the brink of exasperation. It was embarrassing.
“H-How, how am I suppose to pick out a bouquet for a woman I’ve been married seven years to, who’s given me two beautiful kids, and pushed me through heaven’s knows what?” I said it more for myself than the employee. It was one of those all too often moments of opening my mouth and speaking what I was thinking.
Something changed within the woman. She stepped closer to the flowers, looking intently at each container. “Well what does she really like? What kind of flower would she be if she was one?”
I looked at her, dumbfounded.
I scoured the flowers, mind trying to race. My eyes settled on bright yellow pedals. “She’d . . . she’d be a Lily. She isn’t like any other woman out there.”
The woman nodded, pulling out a glowing cluster of lilies.
“And she hates roses, no offense, but she think’s they’re cliche.”
The woman held her hands up, “Not offended at all, they’re always overpriced.”
“Really?” I said, eye a bunch of long stemmed roses.
“Yes, but that’s besides the point. Go on.”
Blue caught my eyes as I settled on narrow looking flowers, “She loves irises. She’s always telling me about how she wants a clump to put in our yard, just to have them bloom for her under the window.”
A few Irises found their way into her hand.
Encouraged I continued to think out loud. “In our wedding bouquet she had some of those small white flowers. Are those Dahlias?”
“Nope, button mums, those will work perfectly. Keep going.” She was really getting into it. Her eyes almost picking out the flowers before I did. Her fingers positions each flower, filling her hand with a textured mix of beauty.
“How about throwing in this nice purple Stock?” Flowers were shoved under my nose and a complex aroma filled my nose. It was almost delicious.
“Yes, put it in. And maybe some of that pink filler . . . stuff?”
She smiled at me, “You got it sweetie. I think that brings it to your price right?”
“Yup it does.” I said with a nod of relief, it was done.
“Good, we’ll see you tomorrow then.”
Unfortunately for them they would, “Yes. I’ll be by to pick them up. Thank you so much.
“You’re welcome. You know, she’s got a pretty good man by her side.”
Her words weren’t flirtatious, just observant. I smiled and said, “Well I can’t rightly say that I’m pretty good, but I do know I don’t deserve her.”
With a modest smile the woman shook her head. “Sounds like you both got lucky finding each other.”
I couldn’t help my grinning from ear to ear. “You have no idea. She is my life.”
She appraised me for a moment, looking from the flowers on her table to me. “Good. Get home and make sure you tell her that.”
“Will do.” I said paying for the flowers. I stepped out of the shop thinking about my wife and smiled.