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Dear All,

    Attached is a short story I wrote to entertain myself and my friends. Your constructive critique is appreciated. Please remember, the story\'s \"I\" is not me in real life. It\'s just a point of view character I created in my story.

    Have fun.

    Diana Yang

    September, 2009年




    Since Betsy started working here, the sighting of the “1-800 flowers” delivery guy in my office was more frequent than bankers.

    He always showed up in the most inconvenience moments, either when we were rushing for department briefing for another round of layoffs, or fire drilling to the glass conference room shaped like a fish ball for investor interrogation. Worse, he came for only one person, Betsy, bring flowers from her husband for her birthday, her anniversary,  her first job, her first birth, their first eye contact, her first everything and nothing.

    My boss Karen, a fifty year old diabetic spinster with five cats and seven dogs in her household looked the other way. Betsy was her secretary, whom Karen depended on like her insulin. Besides, Betsy had an angelic temperament and a soothing voice deserving a thousand roses and a smile that could defeat any perfect storm. Whoever wanted to be against her would be like publicly announcing himself a bully. So the flowers and the delivery guy whirled in and out the glass door at will.

    Betsy was sitting a glass panel away from me. Without moving around, I had the direct view of her flowers, a benefit that I secretly took pleasure of. I hadn’t got flowers for more than ten years, maybe longer; I chose not to be exact. My husband believed they were quite a waste because “they will die in a week.”

     “What do you mean? They are dead upon delivery. Do you know women…? ” Most of the time, I got emotional on this subject that I slammed the door instead of stumbling for words. Since I failed consecutively to convince not only him, but every man around me, on how important dead flowers meant to a live woman, I might as well giving up the battle these days and enjoyed the free flowers.

     “Oh, who’s flower? Let me open the box.” Betsy was already scissors handy before signing off the delivery guy. It was her job to receive and sort packages delivered to the office.

     “Wow!  Long stems! Prettier than the wax ones.” I hailed from the other side of the panel. She smiled at me with her angelic smile, her red hair sparkled and her cascading necklaces jingled.

    I moved to the other side of the panel. Dews rolled from the velvet pedals sprinkling on her desk. Sweet aroma of Queen Elizabeth infused the room making me long for my rosewater bath tonight.

    Carefully, she pulled out the note card. Her restless anticipation made me wishing with all my strength that THEY ARE NOT HERS, at lease for one time.

    “Oh, it’s for me,” Her face bloomed with wrinkles. “From my husband.” I knew it.

    “For my anniversary.” She looked at me and chuckled a teenager’s chuckle. Joy spilled from her pink shirt. She looked adorable. Free flowers, I reminded myself and took a deep breath of the rosy air.

     “Smell very nice. What anniversary? Your wedding or the birth of your first grandson?”I tried to sound lighthearted, but the feeling of stupidity for being jealous of a woman twice of my age weighted on me.

     “Of cause my wedding anniversary, Silly,” she said as she crumbled the wrapping paper in her hand. “My forty-fifth year anniversary.”

    That woman must have got married the day she reached puberty. I envied her, not for her marriage age, but…for something I don’t want to admit. Definitely not for the numbers of grandkids, total seven of them. Not my time yet, but I felt like a grumpy woman, older than her grandma.

     “One, Two, Three……”She started counting. “Twelve.”

    I wanted to retrieve to my side of the panel, but I couldn’t move my feet. Glad we didn’t have fire drill today. God, I love those roses.

     “Your husband sent you flowers too, I bet.” She winked at me as she put the flower in one of her vases. She was too bubbling to ask in any meaningful way I could tell.

     “Yeh. I got them on our anniversary, too.” I shrugged, remembering the first bunch of flowers I got after we had our first major fight when we first got married, and more bunches after more fights. Now I didn’t even get them if the house was crumbling down.

     “Sometimmmmes,” she continued in her sing-song voice, “men need to be reminded. They don’t always remember those days.”

    I pondered on her words. A renewed hope crawled under my skin like a secret desire. “Y…ou are right,” I nodded.

    Then, she stopped the flowers in her hand and came whispering to me, “We are going to Venice. Shhh,,,” She put a finger to her lips. “I don’t want to scare my luck away.”

    “I, I won’t beep a word,” I said.

    “You know, his job benefit working for Triple As.” She gleamed again and returned to her flowers.

     “It’s a keeper,” I blurred out. It was a big sign I saw on my way to work every day, from the window of a fishing equipment store, next to a florist with beautiful fake bouquets.

     “Sure, he is a keeper.” She probably didn’t hear I said “it”. “My high school sweetheart.” Here she went again.

     “Good, I mean great… for… you,” I said. My sincerity didn’t come easy.


    That night at dinner, I couldn’t swallow my roast beef, so I told my husband Betsy got flowers in the office. “So, you think I should have them once in a while at home, right? Let’s say, some holidays? Deliver, a surprise?” I asked squarely.

     “Don’t you get them in your garden?” he asked innocently, gazed at me in confusion.

    “It’s different. How many times I told you.” I pushed the plate away. I crashed landing on Planet Man again but I was giving it one more try.

    “Flowers are flowers. I don’t see any different,” he reasoned with his even tone.

    “And they all die in a week.” I finished his sentence. “But woman even like mummified flowers.  Do you know once I hung them upside down in the basement, they have sentimental value than can’t be measured in dollars and cents? Even Karen likes them, she can’t because her cats will knock them over and eat them. Why don’t you understand?” I stormed out of the kitchen.

    I bet he had never noticed my dry flowers in the basement but that was not the point. His mind had been hardened by those mathematical formulas that he solved for hobby, I reckoned, and it was hopeless to reform to a sensible one. No wonder people get married right after high school, like Betsy, to preserve her husband’s brain from turning to….  I knew I was ridiculous with my reasoning but I indulged myself for the moment.

    After I returned to the kitchen, the dinner table had been cleared. He had made me a cup of coffee, next to it, a plate of macadamia and white chocolate chips cookies I made yesterday.

    From the kitchen window, I could see my peonies, pink, white and burgundy with names less royal like “Maroon” and “Sobeit”. They waved sluggishly in the evening breeze to the setting sun. For the last three years, I had replaced my failing rose bushes with them one by one and fed them with top quality fertilizer pellets. Year after year, they returned with flowers size of a Boston lettuce weighing down on leafy branches.

    The bees had returned home. The fireflies had gathered for the evening dance. When the breeze came, the perfume of the peonies elated me through the open window. For the first time, I regarded my “Maroon” more highly than “Queen Elizabeth”.

    That night, I picked up the scissors and brought home a bigger bouquet than Betsy’s.


    (The End)












TAG: 戴安娜.杨





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