“No man is truly married until he understands every word his wife is NOT saying.”
I might as well have been singing when I said it. “You don’t bring me flowers anymore.” My husband’s thumb stopped hovering over the remote for just a moment before he filled his cheeks up with air and then blew out slowly. Either he was stalling or had suddenly developed an interest in deep breathing techniques. As his thumb slowly began pressing the remote buttons again, he stared at the television screen and answered, “So, what you’re saying is … exactly how long has it been since I gave you flowers?”
“May 13, 2007,” I answered quickly. A woman keeps track of these things. I remembered the day well because it was the last time I had uttered, “You don’t bring me flowers anymore.”
He turned the television off and called my daughter to the living room. When she appeared, he asked, “How would you like to go on a secret mission with Daddy?”
“I heard Dad,” she groaned. “You forgot to get Mom flowers again.” She grabbed his hand, turned around, and said to me over her shoulder, “No worries, Mom.”
As I listened for the car to back out of the garage, I fondly remembered the day after my husband’s and my first date. When a beautiful bouquet of six red roses arrived on my desk, I knew he was the man for me. I proclaimed to all my already-married friends, “I bet this guy will give me flowers for the rest of my life!” When they rolled their eyes and snidely commented, “Keep dreaming, sister,” I thought they were just bitter because they hadn’t been lucky enough to snag Mr. Romance like I had.
When Valentine’s Day arrived the first year we were married, I could barely see the delivery man’s face through the bountiful bouquet of flowers he brought to my door. On our first anniversary, my husband handed me a vase of roses as he walked in the door and joked, “Who was the imbecile who made up that silly paper tradition?” When our son was born, a bouquet adorned his dresser and made me smile, even during middle of the night feedings. When my friends visited the baby, they admired the flowers and then followed it with the remark, “Just wait.” I chalked it up to jealousy. Could I help it that their own husbands took them for granted?
Many years and another child and a dog later, I heard the crinkling of green tissue as my husband and daughter walked into the kitchen where I stood with my arms folded over my chest. My husband extended his arm out and handed me a spray of flowers, tightly wrapped in clear plastic. “Voila!” he said excitedly. I thanked him, and as he proudly sauntered out of the room, I peered down into the bouquet. Could it be? Was it possible? I moved the paper to the side and stared at the flowers. The leaves were brown. The buds were dry. The stems were mushy.
“What is it, Mom?” my daughter asked.
“Well, apparently romance isn’t dead after eighteen years,” I laughed, “just wilted.”
Just then, the phone rang. It was a friend of mine from work who had just become engaged. “He’s just the most romantic guy you’ve ever seen,” she gushed. “He sends flowers to me all the time.” As I listened to her go on and on about how she had finally found the kind of man who would always make sure romance was an integral part of their relationship, I watched my daughter try to coax the flowers into standing up inside the vase. “Are you listening to me?” my friend asked after I had been silent for some time. The flowers hung over the side of the vase like seasick passengers ready to heave.
I smiled as I answered, “He sounds like quite a catch.” I say let her float on her cloud for a while. Reality will be arriving soon enough–and let’s hope he is not bringing wilted flowers with him.
By Vicky DeCoster (www.wackywomanhood.com)