Old Flame-Friday Fictioneers

Margaret made Bill his cup of tea…Twining’s Australian Breakfast.

“What’s wrong with them, Bill? Can’t they read? NO FLOWERS meant NO FLOWERS! It was hard enough to bury you once, but over and over again, petal-by-petal? Just stick a knife in my heart. NO! I’m NOT being a drama queen. Got a friggin rose caught in the walker. Almost broke my neck. I COULD’VE DIED.”

“All those flowers… Didn’t they know, you NEVER gave me flowers?”

“Flowers in death, but not in life… A bunch for every birthday and anniversary you ever forgot…”

“I hate flowers. Burn them all!”

……

A few years ago, a neighbour’s husband passed away and she had an entire room filled with flowers, and the whole prospect of what to do with them, really troubled her. One morning, she popped over and gave me an arm full of dead Arum lillies. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled about receiving them either. What was I supposed to do with them? I knew them out. I lamost always give people a photo frame when they lose someone close. Flowers just become another death.

That said, I love receiving them, and while they’re good, they really do cheer you up.

This has been another contribution fot Friday Fictioneers hosted Rochelle Wisoff-Fields PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson.

xx Rowena

48 thoughts on “Old Flame-Friday Fictioneers

  1. Sandra

    You’ve got a point there, Rowena. Oddly, my husband has never bought me a bunch of flowers. He knows I love flowers, and he knows I’d love to receive them, but there you are – he has a thing about it. He’s going to be very embarrassed at my funeral… and if he gives way to peer pressure at that late stage, I shall come back and haunt him.

  2. Iain Kelly

    Interesting point you make, perhaps plants instead that can continue to grow and flower each year if they’re cared for, rather than dying within a few days. Thought-provoking take.

  3. gahlearner

    Don’t you hate it when people completely disregard your wishes and those of the deceased? It’s so sad seeing her talk to her dead husband/love like that. I hope she also has some living people to talk to.

  4. Lynn Love

    I love the voice here – feels very real. And I agree with Gabi – makes me furious when people disregard others’ wishes, as if what the giver wants to do supercedes the bereaved. As a florist we often deliver sympathy flowers of course and I’m always puzzled when people say, as they often do ‘something bright, to cheer them up,’ as if a bunch of flowers will take the edge off losing someone. Nice tale Rowena

  5. Jelli

    I’ve very rarely ever received flowers. A single rose on our 1st anniversary, another on the 10th, nothing for the 20th. I don’t even possess a vase. I’m not sure how I would deal with getting flowers. I might get so excited I’d have a heart attack and keel over on the spot.

  6. Christine Goodnough

    Sometimes the recipients of too many flowers donate them to nursing homes or seniors’ centres, but only when the flowers still look nice. To keep them all yourself and watch them die is just another grief.

  7. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover

    Heartbreaking take on the prompt. Anger is a stage of grief so maybe the flowers helped her. I’m an optimist.

  8. Dale

    Funeral flowers stink to high heaven. Worst smell EVER. I asked for no flowers for Mick.. ended up with at least 10 bloody bouquets. My mother cannot STAND the scent of flowers ever since her brother died and they had a roomful of them in her house. And yet, my father would buy her bloody roses every anniversary. Wonder why they divorced after 29 years….?

  9. Cayman Thorn

    I always hated getting flowers when I was in the hospital for the same reason. It was as if I could feel the ominous foreboding clinging to their dying petals. The perfume of a bouquet, mingling with that horrid antiseptic smell in the room? Ugh!

  10. granonine

    Aw, I love flowers–even at a funeral. The colors and the abundance make it feel like an indoor garden. I do agree, though, that the smell of lilies is overpowering and, for me, not pleasant. Anyway, I loved the story 🙂

  11. wmqcolby

    I don’t have anything against flowers, I think they’re wonderful myself. It’s actually the motive behind them. People mean well, but sometimes it doesn’t work. Nice gestures, yes. I think people need a little more than just flowers when they’re grieving.

    Good take on the prompt. Maybe Bill should have eaten them. 😀

  12. pennygadd51

    I loved the way you used the simple action of making Bill a cup of tea a surrogate for Margaret’s raw grief. It forces the reader to stop, step back and think about what’s really going on. It makes the rage of the next paragraph both comprehensible and believable. Nice one!

  13. Rowena Post author

    Thank you very much, Penny. A cup of tea is such a simple, everyday thing and yet it can also be used to comfort or as a preparation for bad news. I collect and photograph antique and vintage tea cups. Although I would say I’m quite particular about each tea cup, you could well walk in here and see me as a shelter for homeless tea cups.

  14. Rowena Post author

    Bill has definitely been busy on Friday Fictioneers this week. I love flowers and when I’ve been sick in hospital, they’ve really cheered me up.

  15. Rowena Post author

    Thank you very much. Thought you’d appreciate this true story, which I tried unsuccessfully to weave into this flash. My parents’ neighbour’s father died and the funeral flowers included lillies with the stamens still attached. Lillies are toxic to cats and tragically her cat ate the pollen and died over a few weeks of kidney failure. Not long after that her husband was badly injured in a bicycle accident and then her other cat died from a tick. Not good when you have such a rotten run of heartache.

  16. Rowena Post author

    I loved having flowers in hospital when I was sick, although when I had my kids, I’d much rather a present and these days I often give nappies. A new bub is expensive.
    Of course, I agree with you about the anticeptic smell. Yuck!

  17. Rowena Post author

    I was thinking of you when I wrote this flash, Dale. I understand the situation with your Dad. My Dad always buys my mother yellow roses for their anniversary. Yellow is his favourite colour. Whenever Mum buys flowers for a friend, she buys more pastel shades. I could walk into her florist, and he’d make up a bunch of flowers for her which would hit the spot.
    We have just finished the latest series of Masterchef and I was intrigued by how the contestants focused on putting themselves on the plate. I didn’t hear one of them say that they were making something because the judges loved it. If it were me, I’d be looking into that and catering my offerings to that. This could explain why I can get a bit wishy washy about who I am. I sort of morph into the situation.

  18. Rowena Post author

    I know what you mean. I bought my own flowers for my birthday. I spotted a bunch of bright yellow Dancing Lady Orchids. They were stunning.

  19. Rowena Post author

    Definitely. Speaking from experience, I think you reach a point of acceptance that your spouse doesn’t bring you flowers. That if you want some flowers, you buy them for yourself and that’s okay. I would usually buy myself a flowering plant though. They at least have the illusion of being longer lasting, although that might not be the case around here.

  20. Rowena Post author

    Lynn, I was thinking as I was reading through this, that it could be useful for florists to offer a pick up service for the dead flowers. I don’t know about the impact flowers have on losing someone but I can say they cheered me up when I was in hospital. My husband also knows that flowers are required on Valentine’s Day.

  21. Rowena Post author

    When I wrote the story that way, I was thinking about how you’re so used to talking to your spouse and there’s that habit, as well as the longing. We long our dog we’d had for 11 years recently and that was hard enough, bt a spouse of 30, 40 years, that ‘s impossibvle for me to fathom.

  22. Rowena Post author

    In so many other ways, there alot to be said about a man with principles. My Dad always buys my Mum yellow rosesfor their anniversary because it’s his favourite colour, even though her preference is for more pastel shades. A florist also told me that a lot of men like buying women wildflowers because they last longer even though the women prefer your standard flowers.
    Something tells me you;ll be haunting your husband for eternity. xx Rowena

  23. Dale

    Were ya?
    So very nice to have such a florist…
    As for Masterchef, they are asked to put themselves on a plate… I always wonder what I’d do.. I did apply for the first season in Canada!

  24. Rowena Post author

    That’s awesome you applied, Dale. My cousin’s a chef and she was Assistant Producer on last year’s show.
    I’m like you when it comes to putting myself on a plate. Could be something like scrambled eggs. I’ll have to put some thought into that. I think I might be better off putting someone else on a plate.

  25. Kelvin M. Knight's blog

    Oh dear, it’s al so negative again, regret and hate clawing away because of not embracing forgiveness. Such a familiar human trait and theme in these flash fiction stories. Which is not a bad thing, just a common thing. Sigh.

  26. Lynn Love

    Ah, yes, Valentine’s Day – the second busiest event for most florists, though it tussles with Mother’s Day of course, with Christmas coming in third. I don’t think people here would pay us to collect dead flowers – we can put them in our recycling boxes and the council will take them away for composting, which is terrific for the environment of course. Sadly, most hospitals won’t let us deliver flowers to patients – they say they’re an infection risk, though I suspect it’s as much to do with being too short staffed to have the nurses running around finding vases! 🙂

  27. Rowena Post author

    That thought had crossed my mind too. That could be interpreted so many ways too. He didn’t talk enough. She didn’t stop. He couldn’t get a word in. Relationships are so delightfully complex.

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