“No, I know now . I’m parked in front of your store and it’s empty.” Debbie peeked in through the glass at the flower shop she always got her flowers from. She believed that a few personal touches, however small, genuinely made a difference when it came down to her clients choosing a home. Cookies in the oven and flowers on the kitchen counter gave whoever she was showing the house to a little incentive to use their own imagination to see what the house could be: a home. Or at least that is what she firmly believed.
“I was out of town for a couple of months. Had some things I needed to take care of.” She spent the summer out of town. She was only supposed to be gone for one week, but ended up staying three full months away. When she got the call that Danny had died she was calm. She booked her flight and began to make funeral arrangements. She didn’t notice that ever since that call she’s had this persistent, dull ringing in her ears. She loved peace and quiet, but the sound was welcome. It made her feel less alone in the world. Her parents had already passed and now her brother. The one person who knew her inside and out. They were a few years apart but had always gotten along very well. She got back to her house and immediately got back to work in an effort to distract herself from that awful summer.
And when she got back she found out her florist, the one person she entrusted all her arrangements to, had moved. She couldn’t believe her luck.
“I tried calling, but you didn’t answer, so I sent you an arrangement with a note. As a goodbye present.”
“Yeah, I saw it. Thanks, by the way.” Debbie was quiet a moment. “Good luck in Florida, Betty.”
“Thank you, dear!”
And with that Debbie was left without a florist only a few hours before she was supposed to show her first house since getting back. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but she was emotionally shaken still and was slightly doubting her ability to do anything anymore knowing that Danny was no longer on this planet. It felt somehow wrong to be successful and happy without him there. Who would she brag to about her latest sale? Who would endlessly tease her about having to catch up to his sales numbers?
Debbie got in her car, got out her phone and looked up florists within a reasonable distance. Out of the 12 shops she found, 11 of them weren’t available for a last minute custom arrangement to be ready within the hour.
“I bet you’re laughing at me right now, aren’t you?” She had recently picked up the habit of talking to Danny as if he could somehow hear her. “I bet you’re really enjoying this.” Looking down at her phone again she saw the Google search show ‘12 results found’ which means there was still one she hadn’t called. She clicked on the shop’s name and saw the address was not far so she just drove over.
She parked right in front of it and looked at it for a moment. It was between a watch repair shop and one of those pet boutiques that made birthday cakes for dogs.
“If these flowers suck I’m getting a dog cake.” She laughed to herself just thinking about how hard Danny would be laughing at her misfortune and her dog cake desperation.
The door to the flower shop was heavy and annoyingly squeaky. There was no one at the counter so she approached, sounded the bell on the counter and quietly waited for someone, anyone to appear.
Five minutes go by and nothing. She checks her watch and decided to sound the bell again. She finally hears someone running down the stairs with what sounds like boots.
From the door on the far right came a woman who stood behind the counter, with her hands on the edge of the counter and chewing gum that Debbie saw was green.
“What can I do for you?” She crossed her arms as she said it.
“Hi, I’m in a bit of a pickle. My regular florist moved out of town while I was away for the summer. And the other 11 flower shops I visited don’t make last minute custom arrangements for walk-ins so I’m here, as a last resort, hoping that through some miracle you can help me.”
The woman looks at Debbie and simply says in a rather sarcastic tone, “thank you for the honor of gracing this humble shop with your request.”
“I didn’t mean it to sound like that. Can you help me or not?” Debbie was desperate. She needed to be at the house in less than two hours and she still had to set the tone she wanted for the house. She still needed to pick up store bought cookie dough. She wondered for a split second if she bought dog biscuits if the buyers would even notice.
“What do you need them for?”
“The flowers? I’m, uh, showing a house to a client and I need the house to look buyable.”
“Where’s the house?”
“Ridgewood Drive, why? I don’t need delivery.”
“Is that by the park over across town?”
“Who’s buying the house?”
“My client, why? Why do you keep asking me these questions?”
“I need to know some background info so I can make the perfect arrangement.”
“I already know what I want. I’d like a dozen pink and yellow tulips.”
“Who’s buying the house? Is it a couple?”
Debbie gave in realizing this woman wouldn’t start making the arrangement until all her questions were answered. “A newlywed couple. Young love and all that.”
The woman nodded her head satisfied with the answer and went in the back again.
Debbie was relieved that she finally found what she wanted. “Pink and yellow, don’t forget!”
A short while later the woman walked back out and placed a vase on the counter. “Here you go.”
Debbie walked over from the wall with all the photographs on it looked at the arrangement, then at the woman. “Is this a joke? I specifically said pink and yellow tulips. Right?” The last part she said mostly to herself now doubting if she had in fact placed the correct order.
“Yeah, that’s what you want, but that’s not what you need. You need daisies, trust me.”
“Trust you? I’m sorry, but I don’t know you and I can’t afford to trust you right now.” She looked at her watch and noticed the time.
“Shit. Fine, I’ll take the daisies, but I’m not happy about taking the daisies I would like to make that clear.” She reached in her bag and got her wallet. “How much do I owe you?”
The woman, arms crossed, looked at Debbie and gave her a hint of a smile. “No charge.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Tell me how much, I’m running late.”
“Tell you what, when you sell the house you come back and pay me.”
“You’re a very trusting person.”
“Trust is important.”
Debbie looked at the woman for a moment and gave in. “Fine, if I sell the house you have my word that I’ll come back and pay you for the flowers.” She picked up the vase and started to leave.
“Nice watch by the way.”
Debbie stopped at the door, one foot in and one foot out looking back at the woman behind the counter. “Thanks.”