My palms are sweaty and raw as I attempt preparing the soil for new spring flowers. I never thought as a florist I would be working from home, but here we are! Not that I mind it all that much. I do miss my coworkers; fifteen year old Lili who saunters in after school with her mother and insists on arranging the red roses for the window display; Mauri, Lili’s mother, who has been working at the shop for over ten years and taught me everything I know; and Casey who is my age, twenty-one, and takes gorgeous photographs for Shower’s Flowers official Instagram.
I smile sadly, overcome with affection for my friends, and position the crisp, white and purple daisies in their new potted home. I back up and admire my arrangement. Man, would Mauri be proud! People don’t realize how much skill and persistence arranging bouquets take. As I pull out my phone to snap my masterpiece, I notice movement out of the corner of my eye. I pause and raise my eyebrows, listening for further movement. Another rustle comes from behind the stacks of fertilizer and soil packages, knocking one over. I jump, stifling a scream as I imagine whatever creature is about to appear and attack me, until I see a pair of brown and black droopy ears. I let out a breath of relief and roll my eyes.
“Daffy! What did I say about staying inside while I work?” I scold the furry being, placing my hands on my hips. Daffy slowly makes her way out, tail tucked between her legs and ears cinched back, and I immediately feel bad. Whoever can yell at a puppy and not instantly feel regret has a heart of stone. I walk over to her and scoop her up in my arms in one swoosh. I lead her to the back door with determination and toss her gently inside.
After placing her back inside the living room, I retreat back to my florist duties in the greenhouse. I arrange another set of flowers, this time orange and yellow-dipped marigolds complete with an ivory, satin bow tying them together. Casey informed me earlier today that it was for an impromptu baby shower in the next few days. I was ecstatic when I learned it was for one of our most loved clients, Arielle. I go to pull out my phone once again, needing Casey’s approval and criticism, when I find the pocket of my garden jeans empty. I must have left it inside after taking Daffy back. I groan and make my way back to the glass door.
Daffy is my first puppy that I’ve taken care of all on my own. After learning I had stage-two breast cancer, my mom surprised me with a tiny brown and black dachshund who I named Daffodil, my favorite flower since I was a child. Daffy is my personal nickname for her. As beautiful as daffodil’s are, their name sure is a mouth full. She has done wonders for my mental health these past few months, especially after losing my luscious red hair. However, puppies are still a pain when they dig their noses into your freshly picked flowers.
I adjust the bandanna wrapped around my head and head inside to grab my phone. As soon as I open the door, a hyperactive being attacks my legs as if I have been gone for days and just now returned. I try to push her back gently, terrified for my marigolds resting on a flimsy table in my greenhouse, but it’s no use. Daffy flies out the door and straight into the open greenhouse. I forget my phone and run out after her.
The worst has occurred the minute I reach the greenhouse. Marigolds are scattered amongst the grass, vase broken, and ivory bow now just a ribbon. I fight back a few tears over my ruined masterpiece and kneel to the ground to pick up the remnants. I want to scold Daffy for the disaster but instead just bury my head into my hands and let the tears fall. It’s a silly thing to cry about, really, but I don’t care. I let my mind review the past few months after spending weeks refusing to do just that. I let my mind remember leaving the doctor’s office feeling numb as tears left marks down my cheeks, shaving off my signature red hair after spending years never bringing scissors to it, telling my friends the news and watching their faces fill with the same despair as mine, and finally my mother presenting a tiny puppy the size of a children’s shoe.
I peel my eyes open slowly, sticky with tears, and notice a small head resting on my foot. Daffodil looks up at me with huge honey-brown eyes. A smile tugs at my lips and I let out a soft laugh as I smooth back her silky ears. Of course, Daffy didn’t mean to destroy my work, she was only overwhelmed with excitement at the idea of joining her owner in florist arrangements. “How about we fix this disaster, hm?” I ask her, scratching a finger behind her ear and making her left leg kick furiously with pleasure. I scoop her in my arms and cradle her as I make my way back to the house. I grab my phone and a broom to clean up the broken glass. I sweep up the remnants of my arrangement as Daffy watches me with a curious tilt of her head and dump them into the trash bin by the greenhouse door.
I type a quick text to Casey:
How do Magnolias sound? I forgot to plant more Marigolds the other day :/
Arielle would love those! I’ll text her now to let her know of the adjustment!
I grin ear to ear and say, “You hear that, Daffy? Magnolias it is! They’re secretly my favorite, anyways.”
I gather the ice-color magnolias from their soil and arrange them in a glass vase, complimented with maroon and sea-green ribbons. A mixture of Christmas and spring joined together, a beautiful sight. I snap a picture over to Casey who is overjoyed by the presentation and tells me to keep practicing—I’m improving! I do a little spin of joy around my flowers and spin Daffy along with me. She wags her tail so hard it threatens to fall off and kisses me with a sloppy, wet tongue. I hug her tight and say, “I guess I should thank you for breaking my original vase. If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t have this beautiful union of Christmas and spring! Let’s just keep the destroying to a minimum, shall we?”
She licks my face in response and lets out a shrill woof! I giggle and kiss her tiny head, letting my mind forget about the despair over the past few months and, instead, be thankful for it. If it wasn’t for my sorrowful news, I wouldn’t be holding a furry, bundle of joy in my hands, despite her intentions of distracting me from my occupation. Life is full of many unexpected blessings, I think happily.