I love flower shops. The air is always rich with moisture and scent and my eyes feast on brilliant mixtures of blossoms. I’m always amazed by the variety of forms a blossom can take: Exuberant freckled lilies tossing their heady fragrance with abandon. Delicate larkspur, trembling on tall spikes. And generously petalled roses unfolding into infinity. The combination of scents is so intense that the air seems to tremble with its potency. I imagine that this fragrant air hovers on the edge of attaining a multi-colored visibility. Just one more blossom, one more scent, and wisps of colored vapor would illuminate the shop.
Last Saturday, with three local proms and Mother’s Day the next day, the local flower shop was a hive of activity, and the cooler had only a few lonely arrangements awaiting pick-up. White labeled boxes filled with corsages and boutonnieres were stacked high on a small wooden bench and a number of people waited for assistance. Lydia and I were there to pick up the boutonniere for her date. After hours at the local salon, she was a fitting accompaniment to the vivid floral arrangements in the shop. Her eyelids and lips were bedecked with color, her nails polished and shining and her honeyed hair twisted and braided into a flowing arrangement. My own sweet Lydia preparing for her Senior Prom. Where have the years gone?
As Lydia waited in line, I wandered through the small shop, admiring those small items that enhance a florist’s shop: vases, frames, a small assortment of jewelry, blooming plants. I returned to Lydia’s side as she paid, and noticed a small glass vase on the counter, holding a variety of random, extra blossoms. One perfect dusky lilac rose caught my eye. I touched its soft petals, envisioning my bridal bouquet.
“Oh, Lyddie, this rose is the exact color of the roses Daddy and I had at our wedding.”
The florist overheard me and picked up the rose. She twirled it slowly in her hand, smelled it, then handed it to me and Lydia, inviting us to do the same. When it was my turn, I inhaled deeply, trying to recapture that afternoon so long ago. I remember my wedding roses as richly perfumed, but this one had a more delicate aroma, subtle but lovely. I inhaled deeply again, then handed the rose back to the florist.
She shook her head. “No,” she said, “You keep it. Happy Mother’s Day.”
“Oh!” I said, surprised by the thoughtful gesture, “Thank you so much.” I turned to leave, rose in hand, and unexpectedly felt my eyes well with tears. Walking out the door next to my daughter, holding my reincarnated wedding rose in my hand, my heart was full.