The other day my friends came to pick me up, this is a regular thing as my arm heals to the point where I can brave the highway. As usual John got out of the car to open my door for me. He does this, not because I am the one-armed-wonder-woman, but because opening doors for women is part of who he is.
Before he let me pass him he requested, in that gentle voice of his, that I close my eyes and hold out my hand. I willingly obliged not knowing what to expect and surprised at bit at myself for trusting him. I don't really trust men in general. I'm working on it, but let's be honest, I don't.
Into my hand was placed something long and somewhat smooth, and there was a fluttering feeling in the instant before I opened my eyes. For half of that instant I thought it was a lizard, which, if you know anything about me, would have been quite welcome. However, it wasn't a lizard. It was a flower, a beautiful, open, yellow rose. It was fragrant, in the way only garden grown flowers can be. I quickly heeded his suggestion that I put it in water before we left, and it's this bright happy spot on the counter in my kitchen.
Now, lest some of you *cough, my dearly protective brothers, cough* get ideas, John is just a friend. He's the guy lucky enough to take Jessica out several times a week. He's one of my secret-keepers. He's a wonderful, dear, soul. I love that he brought me a yellow rose, instead of the ones he brings Jessi all the time, because the yellow rose is the rose of friendship. I doubt he knows that... or maybe he does, but all the same I am touched that he did it.
It's funny, really, because over the years I'd rather come to hate flowers, and yellow is my least favorite color, and yet this yellow rose brings me great joy.
"Why did you hate flowers?" You may ask of me, and I will answer you now. I can, because I started contemplating on this a few weeks ago. I hated flowers because they were the symbol of a man seeing something beautiful, and thinking of me.
I remember one time I was out with friends, once again accompanied not by a man who I was involved with, but by the man dating my best friend. We were riding in his newly completed go-cart, and he took a turn that ended with the wheel snapped off the cart, and under the cage, while we sat in the clearing dust. We had to walk back.
As we walked he reached out and snapped a wild flower off its mother plant and presented it to me. It was a spontaneous gift, and I found it a very sweet gesture. He probably thought nothing of it, but it has stayed with me.
I've gotten flowers at other times, cut flowers on dates or for special occasions. First into a vase they would go, and then upside-down on the wall to dry. I also often get flowers from my children, and they have always been beautiful.
I got flowers from my then-husband, on occasion, but ONLY under some external pressure from friends, family, or society. One time he even went out the day after Valentines, bought a bunch of roses, scattered the petals in a bath, up the hall, and all over the bed.
Then I found out that the woman he had insisted we host for Valentines dinner the night before, was his lover.
So, over time I had grown to hate flowers, because the thing that had once to me been the symbol of gentility, was now the thing men throw at you to get in your good graces, whether they deserve to be in your good graces or not. I didn't want to be bitter like that, but I was. I was bitter because every vase of flowers I saw, every ad for a holiday where one might expect flowers cut me like a knife. I didn't expect them, I didn't want them, because it was all a lie. Men did not love me enough to see something beautiful and think of me.
I cry as I write this, and I laugh at myself too. I'm not crying because I'm mad or sad that my life was this way. I'm crying because I'm loving that I was WRONG. Men, good men, kind men, do love me. They do think of me when they see something beautiful. Right now it's not men I'm dating, because I'm not dating. (Notice the period.) I have been very blessed however to have met a number of men over the last few months, no... that's wrong, I've met many men over the years who have cared about me enough to think of me. Granted, they couldn't bring me flowers, that was the office of one who... well didn't even want the office, but they still cared.
Slowly, one guy-friend at a time I am learning to love flowers and gifts again (and you would not believe some of the thoughtful gifts I've been given lately.) I'm learning to close my eyes and put my hand out and trust again. I'm learning that while I seek to do good in the world, simply because I despair to think of doing harm, there are those who echo that sentiment. I'm learning that there truly are good men in the world who can care about, think about, and give to a woman, even if they require nothing but her smile in return.
So gentlemen, bring her flowers, and if it be not flowers, bring her something that somehow says, "You are in my thoughts." Call her at lunch. Do the dishes with her. Hold her hand. Write her a poem. Make something for her. Spend time with her. Listen to her, and ask her questions about her life. Watch a chick-flick. Open the door for her. Pay attention to her hobbies and get her something hobby-related, she will be touched that you paid attention.
In little ways, every day, tell her you love her, and under your husbandry she will bloom all the brighter.