During my undergraduate years at New York University (NYU), I interned with The Three--JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup with an ambition to be with the top of the top, to be excellent.I made strong social relations with project managers, received awards and praise and invitations to luxurious gatherings.


Beginning in 2012, I got laid off from my job at Goldman Sachs and it was a good-bye to my handsome six figure salary, Porsche 911, an Upper Manhattan penthouse and other materialistic possessions that money could buy. I relocated to a 400 square feet apartment in downtown Brooklyn.


The phone calls to long time acquaintances and project managers--nothing. No job offers or answers whatsoever. The enthusiastic “Hey, how are you?” turned into sympathetic, laconic “I’m sorry, but I can not help you Many people are in similar situation. Call Joe, he might help.” No callback from Joe.


Like the saying goes “You can’t sit with us.” Thank you, Mean Girls.


However, I was able to find a job at 1541 Brook Street Brooklyn, NY 11211.


Accountant? No. Marketing? No. Payroll? Nope.


Manager? Close to it. My 10+ years financial prowess brought yours truly as a crew member of Wholesome Flower Shop.


Lindsey, a slim woman in her 50s and store manager, introduced the “blossom team” which comprised of six girls plus a guy--me. The rules were simple: demonstrate excellent customer service, teamwork and wear a pink apron. At least, I wasn’t wearing a pink hat to go along with it.


I sucked in my pride and walked out of the locker room. An elderly lady was looking at a group of hydrangeas and tulips.


“Hello sir, how are you doing?,” she asked.


“Fine. Do you need any assistance?”


“I do. I am conflicted between these lovelies,” she referred to the hydrangeas and tulips. “I do not know which one to get.”


“We have today’s special--mix and match a half dozen for $18.”


“Thank you dear but it was what I meant,” the lady said, looking at the flowers again. “What would make her happy? My grand daughter is suffering from a breakup and I would like to get her something to cheer her up.”


“Get her Ben & Jerry’s chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.”


“I want her happy without the weight gain,” the grandmother pointed out. “All of that saturated fat in a pint promotes heart disease.”


“How long she has been dating the ex?”


“Seven years. I disapproved of the relationship--that guy got involved with the wrong crowd. Thank God, he is out of my granddaughter’s life forever.”


“It must be hard for her.”


“She has been mopping over Chris for a week. I tried everything--nothing worked. Coming here is my last resort.”


“I got an idea,” I said. “What if you buy her a dozen flowers once a week? Like today, you could purchase those tulips, next time sunflowers. We could add a note that coordinates with the meaning of the flower.”


“That would be expensive.”


“Would you rather have your granddaughter with heart disease or heart break?”


“Neither, I guess I have no choice though,” the grandmother sighed. “I will get the dozen tulips.”


“Great, what would you like on the note?”


“You tell me.”


“Pink tulips symbolize wishing happiness to an individual.” I begun writing on the baby blue index and handed over to the grandmother.


She eyed me. “Tell me how many?”




“A good-looking fellow such as yourself can’t be all alone during the evenings.”


“I do have Lucy--my dog.” She was the only thing that kept me from insanity and those Playboy magazines. “Your flowers madam,” the grandmother took the bouquet.


“You owe me dinner if it doesn’t work.”


“You owe me dinner if it does work.”



On Fridays, the old lady came to the shop early in the mornings with coffee, donuts and sometimes egg muffin. We would chat about politics, life and stock market.


“How is she feeling?”


“A lot better. I want to ask you a favor,” the grandmother cupped her hands around the paper cup. “My granddaughter has started a garden in the community background, yet she doesn’t have the strength to perform the labor. Would it be ok if you could help? It would mean a lot to her. Only a once a week task and I will compensate you for your time.”


“Sure. I do not see the harm.”


“We could go now,” the grandmother beamed with happiness. “I will introduce you two.”



“Emma!” The brunette girl turned around with denim overalls covered in dirt. “I would like you to meet someone.”


“Emma, Daniel. Daniel, Emma.”


‘Nice to meet you Mr. Daniel,” she slyly said extending her slender hands into mine.


“Call me Dan,” I met her wide baby blue eyes. “Where should we start? Seems you go everything in control.” I saw the wheelbarrow, hand cultivator, rake, trowel haphazardly lying on grass.


“I will leave you two get to work,” the grandmother warmly smiled as she walked to the back door.


“Kind of not. I think you have a better green thumb than me,” Emma said.


“We both on the same boat. But two heads on better than one,” I added.


“My grandmother tells you have a talent for flowers,” Emma bending down on the ground and attended to the asters.


“Aside from working in a flower shop, I am not an expert.” I used the trowel to dig the hole.


“How long you work there?”


“Ten months.”


“That is some time to hone your floral skills.”


“I still do not understand the significance of these.” I said, digging another hole. “Why do people buy them? Consumers waste hundreds on something that is perishable.”


Emma was potting the multi-colored pansy into the hole. “Have you garden before?”


“I grew up in Mid-Manhattan and locating a patch of grass was a feat.”


“Grew up in the city but Southern girl at heart,” she said. “Gardening is like giving birth to another life.”


“I am not following.”


“These flowers are like babies. You will have to nurture them until they grow strong and tall with love,” she gently patted the soil around the tulips.



The once bare garden overflowed with flowers sprouting out as we took our wedding vows.


As we added the “Welcome to Springville” sign. Mine choosing.


As we watered the flower beds and in turn watered each other. It was a tie.


As we fought over whether to add the Asiatic lilies or Dahlias. She was the victor.


As we covered the field with frost protection net. Flowers have feelings too.


Six months fast forward, Emma remained in the hospital. The doctors said recovery from a coma was 2% and should seek the other option.


The weeds and daffodils replaced the previous vibrate field; most of the flowers either died or withered lonely in the cold or heat.


I inhaled and exhaled as I threw my Hugo Boss jacket onto the fence.


“I won’t you die too.” I started working.



Blisters pinned my gloveless hands. Hurts like hell but manageable.


Exhausted, I laid on the thinly patched grass and glazed at the murky sky. Feeling the soil moisturizing my back and hands; its touch was familiar--soft and comforting.


Four years ago, the old Daniel won’t touch a shovel or step into a garden. Yet that changed. A lot has changed.


Human life is like a flower; when we withered away, we always sprout back in a heterogeneous shape.


I saw a tiny leaf germinating out of the ground.


Just like her. 



March 06, 2020 00:19

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