Roses

A bouquet to remember.

Every girl remembers her first time, and sometimes her last.

The day after my son was born, a gorgeous bouquet of yellow roses found their way into my hospital room. They brightened up the dingy view of the alley quite nicely and soothed my exhausted shock at having brought this tiny, living, pooping thing into the world. That was the last time I received yellow roses.

But the first time, oh the first time.

On a clear Valentine’s Day nearly a decade ago, I woke up to find a yellow rose lying on the bed next to me, tucked in between the pages of my journal. Surprising, romantic, and extremely odd. This was not a farewell from the last night’s lover — I was 17, living at home with my parents, and quite chaste.

I pulled on my robe and hustled downstairs, where my mother was flipping pancakes. Another beautiful red-tipped yellow rose was lying by my breakfast plate. When I asked her about it, she was evasive. “I have no idea,” she said, smiling.

For the rest of the day, whenever I caught sight of the two roses nestled in a vase on the table, I wondered how they had gotten to my house. They had to be from my new boyfriend, who knew that yellow roses were my favorite. But he lived 20 minutes away, and I could not believe that he had driven out that morning, before I awoke, to make sure the rose would get tucked into my bed.

Later that evening, he picked me up for a special dinner date. Another rose popped out from behind his back. Yet another was waiting for me in the car. Back at his parents’ house, he had set up the formal dining room with candles and soft music. He carefully served spaghetti he had made himself, and we sat down to eat — at a table set with china, silver and six gorgeous yellow roses.

As we lingered over our farewell kiss outside the garage door of my parents’ house, he produced two more roses. An even dozen — and he surprised me with every single one.

Article © 2007 by Stacey Duck