Pulling into the driveway I notice a card peeking out of the mailbox so I stop to grab it. A notice of attempted flower delivery stares back at me. Confusion quickly turns to horror and I begin to feel nauseous. Surely he didn’t buy me flowers.
I continue along the driveway, pull into the garage and head straight outside to find where they have been left. Tucked away in the corner of the small garden is a long standing bouquet of greens and oranges in a small tub of water wrapped in purple paper with a huge bow and a card.
An irrational fear of being asked who the flowers are from sends me racing back inside the house. Who would ask I don’t know. I rarely run into my neighbours within the complex and it’s not like family or friends ever come round unannounced. But suddenly the idea that someone would ask questions to which I don’t have an answer, which I don’t want to answer, sends me into a panic. This cannot be explained, no-one would understand.
I quickly yank the card open to confirm my suspicions. The card simply reads “Happy Valentine’s Day”. I delve into my handbag in search of my mobile phone, I must ask him. But what if they are not from him? I would look silly for even asking. He would think I had wanted them to be from him. But if not him, who? I rack my brain for an answer. Tragically there is no-one. There is absolutely no-one interested in pursuing a relationship with me, no-one courting me, no-one trying to make me their girlfriend. No-one.
I start typing. I don’t ask him directly. I simply ask what one is supposed to think on receiving anonymous flowers.
The wait only increases my nausea. Why? Why would he send me flowers? And today of all days, I don’t understand. I stare at the bouquet unsure what to do with them. A big part of me just wants to grab the whole thing and toss it straight into the bin. I can’t have flowers in my house, especially flowers from him.
Reluctantly I grab a vase out of the cupboard, tear away the wrapping and start cutting the long stems down to size. I place the vase on the dining table and take a step back to admire them. They certainly do look better than the usual fruit bowl. But I can’t keep these flowers. I’m entertaining friends next week, how do I explain their presence? I’ll have to throw them out beforehand.
About fifteen minutes later the reply finally beeps through. He teases I have a secret admirer. Yeah right I think. My mobile beeps immediately again. He tells me the card should have read, “Thanks for always listening to me complaining and for offering advice. Really appreciate it. Happy Valentine’s Day”.
The confirmation makes my head begin to hurt. I have always justified our friendship as nothing for me to be ashamed of. Nothing untoward was going on. It was simply the occasional after work drink with a colleague. If he chose to tell his wife he was “with the boys”, that’s his business. I wasn’t doing anything wrong.
The next day I threw the flowers out. The line of inappropriateness had well and truly been crossed and I couldn’t bare to look at it.