At the Florist’s

Words say so much, don’t they? and

flowers – Earth’s own little penned poems, everywhere – do too.

The yellowest of sunflowers, happy and unmissable, might say: hello. I’m very happy that you are in my life. Sunflowers’ petals make sense, though their centres are somewhat… confusing. A great big pit of brown seeds. Spirals, spirals.

The purplest of hyacinths, wrapped in light bronze sheets, and a deep purple ribbon. To say: friend, this flower might seem a little strange upon first glance. And I will always, Bi’ithnillah, be here.

And for when you cry, and you feel less-than, and lost, and lonely: a bundle of beautiful white tulips, neatly-cut. It will take time, dear friend, and it will get better: in ways, at present, unknowable to you. It’s okay to cry alone, in your room, sometimes. “Behind every tear is a cleansing of the eyes”. And I hope that you will not feel alone, what with these tulips standing in a nice vase somewhere, in a corner.

You are not alone. You are never alone:

Purple aster, bursting forth: things will be okay again, in some new kind of way. And there is intrinsic good in you, and there are always downsides here too. Aster will remind you of what is more worth focusing on.

Vibrant pink azaleas: bloom, bloom in the Spring. Forget your troubles for a minute or two, and

get lost in this one blanket colour.

If you forget, I’ll get you a Basket of Gold: a flurry of yellow pom-poms. Forget-me-nots. Bellflowers: all fairy-tale-like. Royal blue little lanterns; veins filled with blood black.

Bloodroot, white petals. As much as it hurts, sometimes, or confuses. Perplexes, makes heart swell with sweetness. Tender. Aches, makes blissful. Perhaps a flower might just say it best.

Their different colours, and shapes, and sizes. The ways in which they each grow towards the sun… but in such varying, and fascinating, ways.

It is so easy, for me at least, to idealise working at a florist’s. With a spectrum of dim lights, hanging overhead. Small groups of people entering, each different, at a time. Seas, basket-fulls, of twisted-up purple flowers; blue ones; pink hues, ombre. New conversations to be had; new things to be learnt.

The interactions with each bunch: the cutting of stems and leaves. Neat and prolonged slices through brown paper, and silkier ones. Ribbons of all sorts, and tags.

“I’m looking for a bunch of flowers to say congratulations: my cousin is getting married!”

“What’s his favourite colour? What is he like, as a person?”

“My friend is going through a particularly hard time right now.”

Ten white tulips, their stems neatly-cut at the bottom?

“My heart hurts. I feel left behind, and in a way, I feel I always deserve to be here.”

Yo. That’s dark. Here’s some sunflowers!

Flowers for the young man who feels himself to be in love. He is working extensively on his body, he says, and on his mind. To quote him to the best of my ability: “Not because I think she’s shallow like that or anything. But because the best of women deserve the best of men.”

“When I talk to her I feel like the rest of the world stops moving and everything is still and peaceful when I hear her voice.”

Flowers for the little boys outside, who now find themselves to be good friends. “Faris lives in Paris! Hahahaha.” And flowers for things like football,

and food, and flowers. Cups of tea, and Salāh, shoulder-to-shoulder. The universality of a smile, and our shared tears:

Which, by Allah’s Will and grace, make these beautiful, and true, and good, things possible.

I promise you, you are more than ‘good enough’, dear reader. And if you do not believe me yet, then, here, a (virtual) red rose for you. The most cliché, perhaps: and, also, the most beloved, blood-red, of them all.

With Salaam, Sadia, 2021.

2 thoughts on “At the Florist’s

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