A South African flower safari?
I couldn’t believe she asked. I just spent the entire spring being dragged around Michigan to every sort of flower show, thanks to that dead cat and my Pastor.
“These flower shows could be good for your marriage,” Pastor Traitor told me back in March. “Gloria has been suffering since she lost Levi.”
“BUT, LEVI WAS A CAT,” I remembered screaming, “and, I don’t like cats. I thought God was doing me a favor.”
Soon after, my wife and I went to the Ann Arbor Garden Club Flower Show and the Stuck on Gardening Conference where I found out I was allergic to bee stings. The Michigan Lavender Festival followed featuring live harp music. I’m allergic to the harp too. Oh yes, then there was the Holland Tulip Festival; not the country, mind you. And, how could I forget about the Mackinac Island Lilac Festival where I got sea sick. I forgot about the ferry ride.
“So what do you think?” my wife enquired. “Doesn’t a safari sound exciting?”
“Honey, Gloria. It’s a flower S-A-F-A-R-I. What would be the biggest thrill, a giant Venus Flytrap?”
“But, I thought…,”
“Gloria, if I were to travel below the equator for THEIR spring, I would rather fly to the South Pole and watch the first sunrise of the season and stare at miles of frozen snow and maybe a lost penguin. Why? No flowers.”
My wife started sobbing. “I thought you enjoyed going to flower shows with me. I thought you liked spending time with me. I thought you loved me.”
I crossed the line; got sarcastic. It was going to get ugly.
“Gloria, I do love and enjoy spending time with you. But, I was hoping to see a few Lions’ games. I’m all flowered out.”
My wife cocked her head a little sideways. Trouble was coming.
Why did I mention the Lions?
“A Lions game?” she spat. “Hmmm, they went, what, zip for 16 last year? Didn’t win a game; not one. And you would rather do that or watch frozen snow than fly to South Africa with me?”
I stood silent. I knew the ‘no baby yet’ thing was coming. My only hope was that her best quality was in knowing how stupid I was.
“So, let me see if I understand.” Gloria was pacing. “The South Pole … barren. The Lions win total … barren. Me … barren …,” she started to cry.
I tried to give her a hug. “It’s not about a baby.”
“No, I don’t need you near me right now. I thought you understood. Flowers are alive. They make me feel like I’m alive and a part of me isn’t dead. My garden allows me to nurture life. That’s what I thought we were sharing together. I thought you got that. I’m sorry I haven’t bore you a child yet.”
Gloria stopped speaking, put a finger to her mouth and walked out of the room.
I stood silent in the wake of her soul. I was ashamed. I never felt so stupid and small and sad. Yes, very sad and very stupid, insensitive and selfish and lost. I always thought it was about the cat. I’m not ready for a baby.
God, I have to be the dumbest man on earth.
Gloria strode back into the room with a finger pointed at me.
“You have to be the dumbest man on earth,” she stated.
“And it was never about Levi. I don’t even like cats. I just loved him because you bought him for me. I thought God was doing me a favor when mother backed him over.”
“Really? “ I asked.
“Really,” she smiled.
Why is she smiling? Is she going to kill me, or has she surrendered to the fact she’s married to an idiot?
We both laughed, but mine was tentatively nervous.
She reached for my hand and I grasped it.
She’s not going to kill me. Thank God, she knows I’m stupid!
We both spoke at the same time.
“I love you.”
We laughed again and kissed.
I whispered in her ear.
“I would love to go on a flower safari with you. I hear the Lions don’t lose over there.”
She kissed my neck and whispered, “I even hear they have some very special exotic plants.”
“Exotic, huh?” I rubbed my fingertips on her arm.
“Yes, VERY exotic.”
“When can we leave?”
“Don’t know yet, but I have pictures upstairs.”
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