Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Current Affairs (05/31/12)
TITLE: So Flows The Current
By Vicki J. Cypcar
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Doctor Joshua Barnes approached the counter a year ago. His soulful eyes locked with mine before he opened up a box revealing a wedding photo of his wife. At which time, my hopeful heart dropped into my stomach. Anyway, he was here strictly on business. Poor guy didn’t know what kind of flowers his saintly wife was holding in the photo and apparently he wanted to surprise her with a bouquet. He told me it was her favorite flower. I replied it was easy enough, chiffon yellow orchids complimented with baby’s breath. Then he handed me an index card with a list of dates. I must have looked confused because he asked if I was okay. I think it was the shock of his perfect penmanship that caused my hesitation – I mean he is a doctor.
My slacker of a brother Jimmy and I are responsible for all deliveries and consults. Life in the floral shop is never dull. Take for instance the day my favorite doctor had the nerve to ask me if I wanted to go to the Black Magic Cafe’ for a cappuccino. That was a disappointment – yep -that was the day he toppled off the ideal husband prototype pedestal and cracked his crown like Humpty Dumpty.
A few weeks later he walked in drenched still wearing his scrubs. This wasn’t a Joshua orchid day so I stood there puzzled. He leaned on the counter with tears mounting in his eyes. “I lost my first patient today.” Then he turned and walked back out into the rain. Why did he come here? Why did he tell me? Why didn’t he just go home and tell his beautiful wife?
I was sobered back to my senses by a bridal consult. I don’t really like consulting brides because they all want to be a fairy princess on their wedding day – with an abundance of perfect blooms. I’ve been verbally abused more than once by a painted up Medusa bride in gorgeous gown because something was ‘amiss’ with the flowers.
I have learned about life through arranging and delivering flowers. For instance, when a new father comes in to buy flowers for his wife I always tell him, “Today these flowers will be pretty – but take some flowers home after she hasn’t slept solid for a week – and the same kind of flowers will be beautiful.”
Flower deliveries are bittersweet. You can deliver flowers to a church for a funeral where everyone is cloaked in black, and a couple hours later deliver flowers to the same church for a wedding. And that is life defined – in black and white.
Yesterday my runt brother who leads a double life as a drummer phoned in sick -again. On top of that Joshua never picked up his orchids. At 2:00 p.m. I got a call from him. He is in the hospital with pneumonia. Part of me wanted to go to the hospital and feed him chicken soup - but I am just a wistful and wishful flower girl. Anyway, I agreed to deliver the orchids.
The taxi stopped at 1877 Syracuse, and instead of a brownstone I was standing in front of St. Mary’s Cemetery. Minutes later I stood at the gravesite of Amelia Barnes in the pouring rain watching the fragile orchids endure Mother Nature’s cruel onslaught. I felt their pain.
Once home pathetic me devoured a stack of Oreos without milk; I was just too tired to dunk. I am a blonde and blind idiot. Why didn’t I see it?
Today the sun is out my hope is rising. While the coffee brews I must decide to stand or fall – sink or swim. But my faith has not faltered. I hurry down the steps, hail a yellow cab and immerse myself into this steady current of affairs – we call life.
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