She drove as fast as she could without speeding. Well, maybe she was speeding. But didn’t everyone? And anyway, she had good reason to. She was late. Friends were coming over for dinner and she still hadn’t bought all the food. She pulled her black Range Rover into the closest spot she could find. Any further away was just calling for trouble. First, she could never walk very far in her favorite heels and second, parking further away only tempted jealousy’s fate. No one liked to see a perfect rich girl getting out of a Range Rover during an economic downturn. She wasn’t stupid. Beautiful yes, but stupid, no way. Alysin put the Rover into park and flipped open the visor mirror to check her face. Perfect. Just as she expected. She raised her chin and gave herself a haughty smile. God, I love my life.
Fiona looked up at the tree that was shadowing her path. She loved to see bare branches in the winter time, their silhouettes against the icy sky always inspired her, reminded her of the gifts of cold even when she had holes in her coat and not enough money for a new scarf. She was on her lunch break. On her way to the grocery store. Not to buy anything, mind you, but to visit the flowers. The flowers always made her smile and especially on the coldest of winter days. It was as if they were made of hope, pure hope, something she thought everyone could use a dose of now and again.
Alysin hobbled into the grocery store, sprayed the cart with disinfectant before she put her gloved hands anywhere near it, then found her path blocked by some airhead with holes in her coat who was, what was she doing…smelling flowers?
“Excuse me,” she said with her trademark annoyance. My lord, what is the woman doing now? Is she diving into the poor flower? Alysin had never seen anyone smell a flower with such..such…she didn’t know how to put it but it wasn’t normal, she knew that much. Must be some nut-so affected by the economic downturn. There were a lot more of those lately, that was for sure. “Ex—cuse me…,” she said again, this time a lot louder.
Fiona jumped. “So sorry. I was just….Alysin?”
“Yes? Do I know you?” Alysin did know her, but at that moment she couldn’t think. Not a bit. Her eyes were too lost on the beauty of this woman’s face. She glowed. And not with a typical beauty, something more. It was as if her beauty glowed from within. What was it about her that made Alysin feel like crying. And so suddenly…where was this coming from?
“Alysin, its me, Fiona. From high school. Are you alright?” Fiona touched her shoulder with gentle care. “Here, maybe you are like me, maybe you need a little hope. Try this…” And she leaned over to hand Alysin the flower she had just been smelling herself.
Alysin sniffed it, her shoulders high, her smile tight.
“Oh no, no. Hasn’t anyone ever taught you how to really smell a flower? Here, like this….”
And as Fiona buried her face in that lovely gift of flower, inviting her old friend to do the same, Alysin’s tears finally did come. They came and they didn’t stop, not for a very, very long time. Or at least that’s what I think I saw from the parking lot, my bare branches silhouetted against the icy blue winter sky….
* * *
My Wednesday Wish for You?
To bury your face in a flower this week. To throw snobbery to the wind, to rip off any chains, to let your naked heart experience the gift of flower in front of as much of the world as possible, preferably in a grocery store where so few people do any ‘seeing’ other than their own agenda, day in, day out.
You see, smelling a flower isn’t just a nasal experience. It’s a full facial experience. Flowers aren’t made of soft petals for no reason. They are that way because they are also meant to be felt. And when they are, when you actually connect with a flower, they plant their seeds within you. Seeds of hope, of belief in the magic of life, of beauty and of love.
People may stray, but sometimes, like Alysin, sometimes they are just a mere flower’s scent away from getting back in touch with their hearts. And maybe, just maybe, your daring to really smell a flower in public might affect another needy heart enough to do the same.