The Flower Shop
All her days are the same, new faces come and go. Happy faces, worried ones, sad ones, excited ones. She sees them all, and forgets them the minute they're out of her shop. She hears the stories behind the bouquets, but never really listens. She sees the faces, but never really watches. Stories reach her mind, but she never allows them in her heart. She doesn't really care, she knows she'll be forever alone. She knows she'll never have anyone to be happy with, to worry about, to share a success or a failure with, but somehow she feels happier this way. She feels that to be as happy as the faces she sees everyday, she'll have to be as sad as the others someday.
It's still early and it's the weekend, she wasn't expecting anyone at that time. But a man comes in, with a smile on his face, a smile that she quickly recognizes. It's that smile of people in love. He approaches her and starts talking, she decides to listen today for a change. He's proposing, he'll put the ring in the flower bouquet and wants her to help him choose one. She helps him choose, then he leaves, and with him leaves his story.
A middle aged couple come in with a smile on their faces that she quickly recognizes. It's a parents' smile. Their baby girl is graduating today, they'll give her the bouquet after the ceremony. She helps them choose, then they leave, and with them leaves their story.
A young girl comes in with a smile on her face, a smile that she quickly recognizes. It's a hopeful smile, a wishful smile. Her best friend is sick, she's in the hospital. She's visiting her today, she'll put her bouquet in her room by the window. She helps her choose, then she leaves, and with her leaves her story.
A family enters with a smile, a smile that she quickly recognizes. It's a fake smile, a sad one. A family member died, today is the memorial service. They'll leave the bouquet by his grave. She helps them choose, then they leave, and with them leaves their story.
She regrets listening, all stories are the same, all faces are the same. No one in the world is any different, she's better off alone. She feels glad that she let the stories leave with their tellers. She decides that it's time to go for lunch, but as she stands up, another customer comes in. She thinks of saying that she's closed, but then decides to take this one last customer. She's an old lady, wearing colorful clothes. She comes in with a smile on her face, a smile that she can't recognize. She wonders what the story behind her bouquet is, but she doesn't talk to her.
She stands waiting for the woman to look to her, but she doesn't. She goes directly to the flowers, and picks white tulips, all white. She touches every single one of them before she puts it in the bouquet. Her smile never leaves her face; it's not a sad smile, it's a happy one. Who could this bouquet be for? Her smile is a mix of a "love smile", a "longing smile", an "excited smile". She has to know the story, she asks her.
The woman's husband died five years ago, she goes visits his grave every weekend. There, they sit together, they talk together, they laugh together. She tells him stories about their children, about her week. She listens to him, he talks to her. She's the only one who can hear him, they talk all day. Then she leaves and comes back the week after and every week until they meet again.
The woman leaves, but her story doesn't leave with her. The flower girl looks in the mirror and finds the same smile on her face. She closes her shop and goes to lunch, the story remains with her. She goes out of the shop feeling like another person, the story changes everything about her. She's forever glad she listened and watched that day....