How much should you spend on flowers for a girl? Forget special occasions, how much should you lay down when you’re on the way to the bus stop and, although the issue never crossed your mind, a flower shop along the way suddenly makes you aware of your nakedness, and the thought of showing up empty handed is so embarrassing that stopping is no longer a choice?
Because you are not actually here with me, I have to work it out on my own. I reach into my wallet, hoping it has the answer, but there’s no cash, just the limitless boundaries of plastic. A bell rings as I cross the threshold of the flower shop and a balding man behind the counter acknowledges my nod with a slight scowl. I scan the room and twist the fabric inside my jacket pocket, too nervous to ask for advice. The prices are not out in the open I soon realize. Instead, they’re hidden on little stickers in the most awkward of places, so that each time I pick up a bouquet, I have to turn it several times to find the number.
There are so many prices, and none of them make any sense. Is it just the number of flowers, or do the different types matter? If so, is it better to get a lot of cheap flowers, or just a few expensive ones? I consider for a moment asking the balding man if the bouquets are like six packs at the grocery store, where I can pop one or two flowers out if that’s all I want, but I sense that he is still scowling and decide against it. Eventually, realizing that I’m going to miss the bus, I give up and grab the second most expensive bouquet I can remember. The bell rings behind me and he lets out a grunt.
An elderly woman at the bus stop comments on the flowers, saying how lovely they are and asking what the occasion is. I tell her they are for you and sit far away from her on the bus. I hope she gets off before me, but when your stop finally rolls around, she’s still there. As I pass her on the way out, she smiles at me, a warm and hopeful smile that dissipates as she realizes what stop we’re at.
The air is cold, and dark clouds blot the otherwise clear sky like bad memories threatening to ruin things at just the wrong moment. I don’t mind them though; they just mean less people around. Making my way down a small dirt path, I remember the flowers and use my thumbnail to scrape the price sticker off just in time to meet you. Standing there, I take a deep breath, then lay the flowers down on the grass above where I imagine your eyes are, just in case everything really is as messed up as it feels and this is the only way that you can see them.
How much should I spend on flowers? I’m not mad, I just wish you were here to tell me.