The bell tinkled as the man opened the door of Alanna’s Flowers. Alanna was the sole proprietor and only employee.

“Good morning, Alanna,” said the man.

“Good morning, Greg.” Alanna smiled.

She was pleased to see he looked happy and well. She first met Greg when he came into her shop looking for plantings for his wife’s grave. A friend had told him Alanna knew the symbolism of flowers. Greg had wanted the plants and flowers on Melinda’s grave to be meaningful. Her death had been senseless and devastating. He had thought it might help him if at least the flowers made sense.

Alanna had encouraged him to talk about Melinda, saying that it would help them decide on the plan for the gravesite.

Together, they had designed a bed of shamrock clover and lavender. Alanna had explained that the three leaves of the cover stood for faith, hope and love; and lavender, which bloomed in the summer, symbolized devotion. She suggested adding tulip bulbs in the fall. They would bloom in early spring for the first bit of color in the bed. They’d decide on red, for perfect love and yellow, for cheerful thoughts, because Greg had told Alanna that Melinda had been the most optimistic person he had ever known.

Greg placed pots of pansies in late spring as a sign of remembrance, along with violets for devotion. For special days, like birthdays and anniversaries, he’d buy bouquets of red roses to put in a vase at the base of the headstone.

Over the last two years, their talk had wandered from Alanna’s instruction on plant lore and Greg’s memories of Melinda to general conversation. Their relationship had blossomed into friendship, but Alanna was careful not to overstep.

“What can I do for you today?” Alanna asked.

“I’m looking to make a special bouquet.”

“Okay. Would you like anything specific included?”

“Yes,” said Greg. He took a list out of his pocket. “First, it should have some yellow roses.”

Alanna smiled. “It’s for a friend, then?”

“I hope so. It also needs hydrangea, some pink roses, definitely amaryllis and some daffodils.”

“I’m not sure those flowers would work together.” Alanna hesitated. “Are you sure?”

Greg looked down at his list.

“Yes, I’m pretty sure. It’s yellow roses for friendship, pink ones for appreciation and admiration, hydrangea as a sign of gratitude for understanding, amaryllis for beauty and value beyond beauty—I like that one, a lot, by the way—and daffodils for new beginnings.”

“Oh, I see. It’s for someone special.”

Greg smiled.

“Yes. It’s for you. Would you like to have dinner with me tonight?”

© 2021 Liza Cameron Wasser