Working in a flower shop is like being the bridesmaid, never a bride. You're super happy for all the cute couples and all these sweet boys doing thoughtful things for their girlfriends, but no matter how nice the arrangement or how sweet the guy, it's always for someone else.
One Valentine's Day during college, I was working in our local flower shop. The place was slammed with college boys crammed in, wall-to-wall, out the door and around the corner, clamouring for roses and gerbera daisies. Harried and disheveled, I made my way one-by-one through the line, taking orders like a shorthand cook in a hot, sweaty diner. One sandy-haired boy stood aside, quietly.
"Can I help you choose some flowers?" I asked.
"No," he said, "I don't have anyone to give any flowers to. I'm just here to help my buddy."
This boy was so adorable.
"Aw, come on! I'm sure that anyone would love to get flowers from you!" I insisted. He shook his head, "no, no...I wouldn't know who to give them to."
I started listing opportunities for him, "A neighbour? A friend? Your study partner? A crush? Anybody?..."
He smiled and said, "I could get some for you."
I laughed. "No, no. You don't have to do that. You don't even know me!"
He sighed. "Well," he said, "What's YOUR favourite flower? What would be something YOU'd like to get?"
I didn't even need to think. "Lillies," I said. "Everyone gets roses, but I think lilies are so much more exotic and pretty- they're way cheaper and they last FOREVER. And look-" I said, taking a stem out of the cooler, "See how great they smell?!?"
He smiled. "I'll take one of those."
I handed him the stem and directed him to our designer so it could be wrapped, "Happy Valentine's Day!" I shouted, "Good luck!"
Hours later, when the hustle slowed down, I saw the most beautiful casablanca lillies arranged on the counter. "Wow," I breathed, "Who's that for? That's amazing!"
"O!" My coworker said, "That's for you. Some guy said to give them to you."
I still remember you, blonde Stephen. Thanks for the flowers.