Petals in Prose
Because every bouquet told a story.
And Cora? She is an archaeologist.
She tries to decipher meaning behind those eyes, for every client who comes her way and insists that the carnation should be purple instead of blue. Where are these flowers going? What kind of vase will they set in, if any?
Cora picks sprigs of sincerity in a cascade of apologies. She gathers congratulations, and longing, and subtle envy into bunches, and wraps them in paper as tight as the customer’s handshake. She does so with a sparkle and smile, as she stares in wonder for every custom project laid out on the bench, under her scraped green thumb.
This arrangement of roses and waxflower is both to celebrate a warm reunion, and romance left unsaid. It would look best near a casual dress, shaking out myriad petals on the floor of a cafe in afternoon, forgotten under the flow of conversation.
These Gerber daisies stand alone, bright and strong, in the grasp of a bachelorette who got accepted to her most hopeful graduate school. They should stay on a dining table on a sunny day, full of promise and optimism in each shade of orange, pink, yellow.
Lilies should be sensed and not seen. Cora imagines they sit in a corner of a bedroom, painted with the wistful sighs of a woman who, in every deep breath, catches the scent of pure love and support.
Carnations sing a careful tune of sanitized emotions and polite wishes. They hide themselves in fern and baby’s breath, they blush and hygienically offer a handshake, they speak of manners like a new neighbor, measured advances, the minimum of met expectations. Cora makes these too. She places them foremost and visible, where the anxious can find them and be released of their obligatory burden without having to think too much. It leaves her to do her work, and make symphonies of petals to the songs of hearts she meets.
Some find their pair, amidst splashes of color and rampant emotion, and exchange $35 to accessorize their quests into the world. Cora sees them, the chime of the old style register rings of victory bells in her mind and she watches the human drama expand, with her art tucked under their arms.
Multi-color, manic sprigs of rainbow ecstacy, of whatever blossom feels bright and fun and alive, to match the hair and the flags outside the window, to serve as a beacon for the diversity of the crowd. Each step of the way, the flowers will be parted, and given to each brave soul who stands up and says, I am happy, and I am me, and I will continue to be these things until you listen.
White tuberose and lisianthus are small, humble, and respectful as they lay on the grass in Cora’s mind, their hushed remembrance of what used to be, their wispy petals like solid memories left on the grave… as someone tries to forget.
Sure, some days it’s just flowers. But sometimes, it means everything.