Friday, November 13, 2009

Month old flowers

They told me not to bring anything. They had food, they had beer. Since I have shown up empty handed for dinner too many times – usually after having invited myself like a poor relative who just happens to knock on the door at dinner time – that day I arrived at Reiko’s with flowers.

Though I love flowers I don't often buy them. Compared with what's available in Colombia even fresh ones looked wilted to me. I usually add a few drops of Clorox and some sugar to the water, tactics which helped, but flowers here never lasted as long here. Some managed to look sad for a week before hanging their head in shame. But flowers still make a nice gift.

“Thanks! You didn’t have to,” she said taking them from me. Reiko walked back to the kitchen were her boyfriend, Ming, was working on the meal. She traded places with him and gave him the flowers.

Ming trimmed the stems, selected a vase, filled it with water, topped it with mouthwash, and placed the flowers in it. By then I was already swept in conversation with Reiko so I just filed away that information.

He’s a man of many talents. Besides having a successful career, he practices aikido, knits, makes beautiful pottery, and wears the coolest scarves and hats I’ve ever seen a straight man wear. I would never question his knowledge on flower handling.

A month ago, I was at Southside working on my book. I looked up and the barista was standing holding a bunch of cut orchids someone had just given him like they were a cat trying to scratch him.

“Here! For you!” he said.
“You don’t want them?” it seemed polite not to seem too eager.
“Nah. Take them. I don’t know what to do with them,” he shrugged.

At home I placed them in a vase with mouthwash, ready to try Ming's trick. Almost three weeks ago they made a cameo appearance in my Naked post. They were about a week old then. Last Sunday I removed the ones that had turned brown. Yesterday, in honor of a friend who was stopping by, I changed the water and removed the pond scum that had formed around the water line.

They’re not perky and there aren’t too many left, but they’re still purple. And I love purple. Besides, now that they've become a science experiment I owe it to them to take care of them in their dotage.

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