Lilacs & Sycamores

“Mara do we have any flowers that mean self-appreciation? Do those even exist?” Jane huffs out and she sounds upset, but Mara can tell that she’s just overwhelmed.

Mara stands up coming from the back where she was making a get well arrangement. “Self love? Maybe a narcissus?”

“Oh, we have purple and white ones, yellow and white ones, pink and white ones-” Jane looks up suddenly realizing she’s rambling. “Well, they’re all right here.” She points.

“These are lovely,” The woman gasps looking at all the narcissus. “If I may ask, who grows these?”

“My boss, Mara, grows all of them.” Jane smiles at Mara as the woman emerges from the back of the store.

“They’re beautiful.” As she speaks, the woman looks at Mara and touches her chest. Mara feels her cheeks heat up and she comes over to help Jane bundle up the flowers.

“Have a nice day,” Jane calls after the woman as she departs.

Mara raises an eyebrow at her apprentice, “You haven’t been studying then?”

“I have been,” Jane argues and when Mara gives her a disapproving look she stares down at the flowers. “But I don’t remember seeing that narcissus means self appreciation.”

Mara clicks her tongue as she looks at the next order of flowers and mutters, “Then, you haven’t been studying.”

Jane’s head snaps up to look at her teacher with wide eyes. “No way, it’s not in there!”

Mara shrugs her shoulders. “It’s a big book, Jane.”

“I’ve just been so busy lately with all the studying for class-” Jane is cut off by Mara’s laughter. “What?”

“It’s not in there. I’m joking, a narcissus is a flower means egotism and- well, you know…” Mara shakes her head and breaks into a fit of giggles.

“Oh, my God.” Jane puts her head in her hands to hide the reddening of her face. At this time the doorbell chimes alerting the two women to a new customer. Jane looks over at Mara. “Your turn.”

Mara brushes herself off and heads out to greet the customer. The man is focused on some of the vintage glass figurines that are shaped like flowers. Mara smiles watching the tall figure tilt his head and lean in closer to the display.

“How can I help you,” Mara poses the question in a soft voice as to not startle the man. He turns swiftly and raises his eyebrows at her.

“You spooked me,” He says with a chuckle and the woman is struck by the deep color of his eyes. They are like blooming Cymbidium orchids, a perfect match of their grayish-green.

“I was trying not to!” She laughs suddenly shaking her head when she realizes that she is staring.

“Are these for sale?” He ask pointing toward the glass case.

“No, sorry. That’s a personal collection of mine.” Mara offers an apologetic smile.

“They are exquisite.” The man mutters glancing behind him again.

“Thanks, a lot of them are from my grandmother and my mom,” Mara informs him.

“I was just thinking of purchasing it, you know for…” The man trails off looking at Mara.

“Someone special.” Mara nods.

“Uhh- yeah, I guess.” He clears his throat as Mara wonders why she feels disappointed. Why she was hoping that the man didn’t have ‘someone special’ but her thoughts are interrupted by the customer. “I- I’m here to uh-” The man shakes his head. “Gosh, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

“It’s just one of those days, I suppose.”

“Yeah, let me start again. I’m Everett and I placed an order for a thing- a bouquet of “get-well” flowers.”

“Ahh! Yes, I just made them up.” Mara disappeared in the back off the store only to reemerge with an exceptional bouquet. “Here you are, Everett.” Mara hands the flowers to him and their hands brush in the exchange. Suddenly, the girl feels her face lights on fire and she stares at the edge of the counter unable to look at the man for a few moments.

“Thank you,” Everett marvels and Mara just nods flushing more. “Uhhhh- I- I suppose I should pay for these,” Everett says.

“Yeah, ha- sorry. Ninety dollars and Ninety Five cents.”

“Okay.” Everett pulls out his wallet and Mara sets her card scanner on the counter and the man pulls out cash. “Ninety,” Everett mutters as he counts out the money. “And… ninety-five cents. The man smiles at her when he holds out the money. He glances down at the card slider in the florist’s hands and his smile falters. “You don’t take cash?”

“Oh! No, I– I do! I just don’t get that a lot.” Mara explains and she shakes her head slightly attempting to clear her own head.

Everett chuckles and places the cash in her hands after she drops the machine. “Here’s an extra ten.”

“No, you don’t have to–”

“Please, I insist.” The man pushes the money into her hands. Then picks up the bouquet with a gentle precision.

“Well… thank you for your business.”

“Of course, is there anything else I need to do?” The man asks looking at her over the bouquet.

Mara begins to shake her head then she nods. “Oh, I’m sorry, yes! Can I get you to sign for this?”

“No,” The man answers suddenly then laughs setting the flowers down. “Sure, of course.” He neatly signs his names with decisive strokes and when he finishes he looks up at her. “How’d I do?”

“Perfect, thank you again.”

“No, thank you.” Everett picks up the flowers again and he looks at her one more time. A look passes over his face, mouth twisted in a wry grin. He looks down at his feet then nods slightly. “Have a nice… a nice day.”

“You too,” Mara says returning his smile and brushing her hair behind her hair awkwardly. Everett then spins on his heel, spares one more glance at the figurine display before taking his leave.


Inspired by:

Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop – Landon Pigg

You and I – Ingrid Michaelson

Word Count: 797


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