the christmas tulips
Of my life, flowers were always something someone else brought or gave to you. Mostly associated with men. And death.
Men came calling, men sent flowers.
[Not for me, pervo, I was a little kid, jeez, for adult female relatives and family friends!]
Loved ones died? People sent flowers. Which, if you ask me, is a kind of weird association.
Flowers = Death and Men?
That cannot be healthy.
Then I worked at this interior design firm.
One day one of the other girls at the interior design firm said, “Let’s go get some flowers!” She said it like that, too, with an exclamation point. We were all at lunch. But everyone rallied right then. And we all hopped into our rides and headed over to a flower place I had no idea existed and just went fucking crazy buying flowers.
We’re not talking roses. Actually the woman at the flower place was a little freaked out about the roses. If you pull flowers out of any other tub — and we are talking tubs of flowers all containing a lot of water — and get any water on the roses, even just a drop, the roses are toast.
But we were not after roses. We were after every other flower in the flower spectrum. And that day, I took peonies back to the office.
[Side Note: Dear Men: If you ever buy me peonies as a romantic flower gift? One, you have missed the point. Two, you will never see me naked in this life or the next.]
Buying those flowers was awesome. And after? The whole office was full of flowers. And we were all insanely happy. It was like those flowers lifted five levels of unhappy off everyone who saw or touched them.
After that, I bought flowers a lot.
Then things changed.
A couple rough interstate moves. Some of those days that say, “Maybe you should buy the pancake mix instead of the flowers. Some of those days when you start saying to yourself, “You don’t really need flowers.” And then get so used to saying “you don’t really need flowers” you just stop buying flowers at all.
Today I was in line at Whole Foods behind a man and his two little girls.
The little girls were probably about nine and seven.
The little girls were dressed for shit too. Those were not fancy clothes those girls were wearing. They were worn. Cheap cotton and frayed sleeves. And they had haircuts that yelled “Mom cut my bangs and she didn’t have a level.”
And their dad’s clothes? Not so much better.
But those two little girls had sparkley shoes. One of them had red sparkley shoes. And one of them had gold sparkley shoes.
And they were carrying tulips.
The girls’ dad talked to them like they were grown ups. He did not talk down to them. They were discussing things like dinner [mac and shells, they must have been East Coast, no one west of the Mason Dixon line says “shells.”] And the flowers.
One of the girls, the oldest, named Charlotte, went off to get some plastic wrap for the flowers so the flowers did not drip after being pulled out of a bucket of water while she and her sister and father were all waiting in line.
I bought flowers today. White tulips.
They are my Christmas tulips.
Thank you for reminding me, Dad and the little girls with sparkley shoes, flowers matter.