I love flowers, but I’ve made peace with making do with the cut variety, after trying and failing to grow my own in recent years. Our patio bears the dessicated graves of my attempts at horticulture; dried out pots of dead geraniums, poppies, herbs, tomatoes…
Each is like a failed relationship. I’m full of enthusiasm when we meet, and take them home recklessly. In the first bloom of our time together I’m overzealous, offering more water than they can ever need, smothering them.
But as time goes on, they slip my mind more and more. Other pursuits are easier, more interesting. And suddenly I’m indulging in a glass of wine on the balcony and look down and they’re dead. Occasionally I catch their death throes, too far gone to resurrect but just alive enough to droop accusingly.
I can’t handle the guilt any more. I don’t even try.
So imagine my surprise when a truly gorgeous orchid I was given years ago, and which has laid dormant since, presented with buds a week or two ago.
It was like a sign.
“It’s ok, Clare!” the buds proclaimed. “You CAN be neglectful and selfish but there is a chance that love – sorry, FLOWERS will find you anyway!”
I was triumphant. I took a photo of the buds each day, plotting a scintillating stop-motion film with which to bore all those who scoffed at my lack of green thumbs.
But, as Blair Waldorf would say in her infinite wisdom, “signs are for the religious, the superstitious and the lower class.”
This morning I looked out the window and the buds have somehow been snapped off the plant. It could have been the recent wind and rain, or a rogue animal, or any number of things. But I can’t shake a niggling guilt that if I’d tried harder, if I’d staked the stem to support the weight of the growing flowers, if I’d been more vigilant, I could still be expecting those decadent, exotic pink petals.