Flower Boy (SOLS)

{Flowers from My Editor}

Once, a long time ago, Andy and I lived in two different Big Ten towns. I attended IU Bloomington and Andy studied (briefly) at Purdue. One year, I went back to school early to help with freshman orientation. At the end of the week, there was a surprise waiting for me behind the front desk — a large bouquet of colorful flowers. I couldn’t believe Andy had actually done something romantic. These were the first flowers he’d ever sent after more than two years of dating.

I tore open the envelope looking forward to the sweet greeting. Scanning the card, I smiled at the very sweet message and then blinked at the wrong name signed at the bottom of the card. Instead of Andy’s name, it was the name of a guy I met during Welcome Week. Thinking back, I realized we were at a lot of the same events and he did end up at my table more often than not during meal times.

The flowers, although beautiful, made me frown.

Later, during our phone conversation I told Andy about the flowers. I mostly remember silence from his end. It went something like this.

“Someone sent me flowers today.”

“Who?”

“Oh, just a guy I met this week.”

Silence. Then, “What kind of flowers?”

“All kinds. There’s daisies, do you know those are my favorites? And roses and some lilies. They are all different colors. You know how much I love colors! It’s a pretty big bouquet.”

Silence. “Why’d he send you flowers?”

“I don’t know. I guess because he likes hanging out. He’s a new friend.”

Silence.
Silence.
Silence.

Andy said, “Maybe you should get rid of them.”

I was appalled. “They’re beautiful! I’m not getting rid of them. I’ve never gotten flowers before and I’m sure he didn’t mean anything by it. He knows I’m dating you.”

Silence.
Silence.
Silence.

The next time I saw Andy he greeted me with long stemmed roses and balloons. Balloons? I think I said it out loud, “Balloons?”

“Flower Boy didn’t give you balloons did he?”

“Flower Boy?”

He takes my hand and we walk across campus. “That guy who gave you flowers. There weren’t balloons, were there?”

“Well, no.” I had almost forgotten about the flowers. It was weeks ago.

“I thought you should have balloons.”

The story doesn’t end there. Andy spent the next two years visiting me at IU. It turned out there was a man who sold roses alongside the route Andy drove. Every single time he visited, he brought me a dozen roses.

Years later, after our wedding rings were worn, Andy’s friends let it slip. “Of all the times I saw Ayres angry, nothing compared to when he hung up the phone after Flower Boy made a move on you, Ruth.”

“Nobody ever made a move on me.” I laughed.

Their eyes were big and the rumble of “Ohhhhh!” and the laughs that followed made Andy smile.

“Guys don’t send flowers to friends, Ruth.” Andy said. “Guys send flowers when they’re making a move.”

“Or when they’re refusing to be shown up, right Ayres?” They laugh some more.

“How many dozens of roses did you buy off that road side stand for Ruth while she was at IU?” another friend asked.

Realization strikes, my eyes wide, I ask, “You bought me those flowers because some guy sent me flowers once?”

“Flower Boy,” all three say in unison.

Ever since I moved home from Bloomington, I’ve never received another bouquet of flowers from Andy. Flower Boy continued to be the only person who ever sent me an arrangement of flowers from a shop. And it was quite an arrangement.

Last Thursday I received an even bigger arrangement of flowers from my editor at Choice Literacy. “It’s huge!” I said.

Later that night, we remembered Flower Boy. “It’s even bigger than the arrangement from Flower Boy,” I said.

“Good,” Andy said. “I’m glad he doesn’t hold the title of best arrangement anymore.”

I snuggled into his shoulder, the place I’ve fit perfectly for the past 19 years. He starts the crime show. The smell of flowers wrap around us and I’m thankful for the way things work out.

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11 Comments »

  1. So funny! I loved the first line with flower boy since it showed so much about how Andy felt about it; however, it got even funnier toward the end as his friends were telling you the back story.

    Congratulations on your new flowers!

  2. Laughing all the way through and definitely when Andy's friends called him 'flower boy'. 38 years and the only flowers that Dave's ever brought me are those growing in a pot that he is ready to put right down in his own garden! But love grows their too:) xo

  3. This story warms the heart. My husband has never been a big flower giver either. Once I got glads for my birthday, but then his co-worker was appalled because she said they were funeral flowers. I loved them (even if they came from Sams).

  4. This is wonderful! There is nothing more endearing than men are really bad at gestures. My boyfriend of 10 years for the 1st this year finally bought me a present for my birthday and Christmas, and they were both maps of Wisconsin. When I made fun of him for it, he said: “but they show such different things…” I love it- a response only a forester could give. Best presents ever 🙂

  5. Love, love, love this story. The title/idea is scrumptious. I thought it was just going to be a nice story about you and Andy–kind of a shallow topic for you! Why hasn't this event shown up in one of your working novels??? It was full of surprises that kept coming. Andy was really on the ball with those balloons! Love that. I could hear the “silence.” Flowers are good for many reasons. You're a gem, Ruth.