The Meaning of Three
by Domingo Jr. Capias
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In the parking lot, the temperature read 14 degrees Celsius. But the breeze sweeping all over Mark’s body as he stepped into the Mall was even cooler. Feeling refreshed, he walked up and down the flowers’ section of the mall. Within minutes of strutting, he gulped at a sight he didn’t expect to see ---A beautiful bouquet of three long-stemmed red roses. “Man, it would have been a perfect buy without this stinking price tag. It’s painfully expensive!” Mark grunted.
Meanwhile, Susan kept on looking at her watch. Sitting impatiently in a coffee bar on the 2nd Floor of the Mall, she kept glancing at the door, anticipating the arrival of Mark. “He is always late!” she said as she released a sigh of frustration.
“Angry with the angel, and the angel appeared!” Mark exclaimed as he handed over to Susan the beautiful bouquet of three red roses.
Her eyes brightened up at the sight of the roses. Holding the bouquet as if she had won a beauty contest, she leaned over to Mark and said, “Thanks sweetheart! That’s so sweet of you.”
“You’re welcome, babe! I love you.” Mark said and planted a kiss on her lips.
“Love you too.” Susan said giving him a “don’t-be-late-next-time” look.
They both ordered their favorite Irish Cream coffee and Black Forest cake. Love was in the air as they talked, laughed and enjoyed each other’s company.
Little did they know that that was their last date together as they met with an accident on their way to Susan’s place. Mark was driving the car and he didn’t see the fast moving car opposite the road when he was over taking another vehicle. Susan didn’t survive that fateful night.
Having recovered from a broken heart, Mark went to India and worked in a University as an English teacher. Four years later, Mark was again into flower hunting. But it wasn’t at the Mall. He was at a busy market and hawkers were on competition screaming on top of their lungs the names of the goods they were selling. Across the street, he noticed two carts parked on the pavement. They were full of flowers of different colors and varieties. He crossed the busy street full of people walking slowly. If someone had observed the people, they were actually walking aimlessly as there were lots of options to consider. He reached the place where the carts were parked and started combing through the displays with his eyes.
“How much are your roses?” Mark asked the dusky handsome Indian boy who had been staring at him since Mark stood in front of his little “shop”. Mark wasn’t feeling uncomfortable by this as he was already given cultural orientation at the University. The boy was even surprised as Mark spoke the local language.
Having heard Mark speaking the vernacular, the boy was so impressed that he forgot to cheat him and thereby told him the exact price, “Five rupees one piece, Sir.”
“Man, that is ten times cheaper than a rose back home!” Mark said to himself and then instructed the boy, “Give me 3 dozens please! And please make a bouquet.”
Smiling from ear to ear, the boy took the money from Mark and put them in a wooden box that was partly hidden behind the flowers. He skillfully arranged the flowers, bundled them and tied them with a red ribbon.
Mark was so excited with his purchase. He carried it with his hands; walked carefully down the busy street to his parked car. He put the bouquet on the back seat putting some boxes around the base to keep the precious bouquet from falling.
Brenda was a beautiful dusky Indian woman. She was a Science teacher----a colleague of Mark. He sent the bouquet to her at her dormitory through his Indian co-teacher. Brenda was so excited to see the bouquet of 36 red roses and then started to wonder. Her heart beat rapidly as she read the note, “Dear Brenda, I sent these flowers to color my feelings for you. You might be surprised…. perhaps shocked what on earth do all these flowers mean? I can explain. In my country, if a guy gives to a girl three flowers, the guy is simply saying, “I love you” to the girl. At this point, I want to say, “I love you” by giving you not three pieces of flowers but three DOZENS of red roses…. Love, Mark.”
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