Keeping the Flowers

This week I had "a domestic". It's what the police call a "domestic disturbance", but in my community it's what we refer to as a delivery so laden with apology it makes it ten pounds heavier to carry with the added guilt. In most cases it's the usual: a fight, staying out too late, flirting with the wrong woman or man, the usual marriage discourse. They are almost always roses. I'm wondering if roses ever think to themselves: "Why us? Why are we always responsible for patching up relationships?" They must feel like default couples therapists at this point.

In any case, I was delivering four dozen roses, which in my world means a seriously heavy transgression must have occurred. The apartment was in a very upscale neighborhood and my first thought was four dozen isn't going to be enough. I rang the bell and a beautiful woman in her 40s opened the door, well dressed and with an expression as though to say "What now?" She looked the flowers over as a chess grandmaster scrutinizing their next move. "What are those?" She asked, her tone dripping with derision. "They're what we call in the industry 'a floral arrangement'." She was not amused and now included me in her mental list of whom she hated. "What if I don't accept them?" I pondered this a moment and realized that this had never happened to me before. No one had ever refused a delivery. I answered: "I guess I'll just take them back." She thought about this for a moment before she looked at her credenza in the hallway where a vase with slightly wilting flowers were slowly shuffling off their floral coil. The elegant woman looked back at my flowers said in a voice almost to herself: "I'm keeping the flowers, but it'll take a lot more than four dozen roses to fix it." She reached her hands out and I gave her the delivery. Without saying a word or even thanking me, she closed the door while I stood shivering in the wake of a bristling cold front that had just dropped the temperature forty degrees.

I don't know how much more it was going to take to win this woman's heart back, but I do know that if she kept the flowers, this person at least had a fighting chance.

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