So I feel like yesterday’s attempt at humor bombed so I haven’t visited it again today. Maybe in the future. Today is “G” and I’ve gone with gardenias and geraniums (and a hyacinth, which doesn’t fit here today but is a nod toward tomorrow?) just to mix things up a little.
All of these stories are linked. While the stories are linked, each is a standalone. However, if you’ve missed any and want to read them, you can catch up here.
A Lesson to Learn
Every time that Carrie Underwood song comes on, which is far too often as far as Angie’s concerned, because, really, that song is ancient and so Neanderthal, Angie’s teeth grind together, and she tells Alexa to change the station. Something, anything is better than that song. She thinks it’s indicative of the state the country is in that so many people like that song. But then Josie would tell her that she’s being judgmental again, although she knows for certain that Josie hates that song too.
A young blonde with the ends of her hair dyed black approaches the counter carrying a gardenia plant. She cracks her gum as she looks from the plant to Angie.
“Are gardenias old people flowers?” she asks, her fingertips tracing the shiny leaves.
“Old people flowers,” Angie repeats, wondering if she heard correctly.
“Yeah, like lavenders and stuff like that. I mean, is a gardenia a plant for someone who doesn’t keep their tissues up their sleeves?”
“Uh,” Angie tries to mentally regroup. “I’m pretty sure that gardenias are liked by most everyone.”
“I don’t like them. They remind me of my great aunt and she always smelled like mothballs and this flower and she kept her tissues up her sleeve. I mean, gross, right?” The woman shakes her head. “I guess that kinda answers my question. But the leaves of geraniums stink, don’t they?”
“Are we stuck on ‘g’ flowers?” Angie asks.
Angie grabs the orange geranium that Josie had dropped off earlier. “Geraniums make great houseplants and can be put out during the summer and brought back in.”
“Why? Why would you go to that trouble?” the woman asks, snapping her gum. “But, you know, what the hell. I’m really bored with flowers. My sister loves them. But she’s a mother earth kind of person. I wish she’d just do something besides her books and flowers and dogs. I mean, the world’s a big place. Sometimes you just gotta dance too, am I right?”
Angie feels like her head is whirling. But the customer’s always right so she nods. “Yep, dancing is good.”
“I know, right? Okay. I’ll take this geranium. Can you put like a bow around the pot?”
“That I can do,” Angie says.
“It’s her housewarming present,” the woman says. “I’ll tell her that she can put it out and bring it in, just like you said. It might make sense to her. Maybe I should get her a book too. But, god, she has like all the books.”
“A gift card, maybe?” Angie suggests.
“Score! Thanks. Maybe I won’t seem like such a bad sister after all.” The woman’s voice trembles slightly as does the smile on her lips.
“This will make a wonderful gift. I’m sure she’ll love it.”
The woman nods. She looks into Angie’s eyes. “I’ve been a horrible sister. I’m not sure that she’ll even see me. I seduced her boyfriend.”
Angie gulps because the story hits home, reminding her of what she did to Marcus and Josie. “It happens.”
The woman frowns. “But it shouldn’t, should it? I mean, like I saw something I wanted, and I took it. Like what sister does that to her sister? I suck. Anyone who does that to her sister sucks.”
There’s nothing to say because Angie’s pretty sure that she sucks for what she did to Josie. She created a chasm a mile wide that she hasn’t been able to close. Time? Love? Forgiveness? At least Josie still talks to her. Barely.
“Wait here a second,” Angie says. She runs to the workroom and retrieves a purple hyacinth. When she returns she smiles at the woman. “Take this free from me. Purple hyacinths are a flower of forgiveness. She can enjoy the flower and the fragrance and then plant it in her garden to enjoy for years to come.”
“Huh,” the woman says, snapping her gum again. “But, you know, here take this for the flowers. You’ve been great.”
A hundred-dollar bill falls onto the counter. Angie squints at her.
The woman grins. “Yeah, you know me. I’m Deirdre Rain. I sang that cheating song everyone’s been singing. Like so appropriate, right? Ciao.”
The bell chimes above the door as Deirdre Rain goes out into the sunny day. Angie thinks that there must be a lesson to be learned here, but she doesn’t know what it is. Maybe tomorrow, she’ll understand. Maybe.