Not because you named your child after a flower already meant she would be as delicate, pretty, and as fragrant as the flower she was named after. It could be otherwise.
Jinta would be seen every day in front of her flower shop. Her face would be a frown, her rich dark eyebrows a V-shape above her huge crooked nose. She was a strange sight amidst the beautiful flowers surrounding her. Toddlers would cry when they see her. Bigger kids would shoot her with pellet guns from behind and run away when she looks back at them with an angry face. Women will throw her looks of discernment whenever she walks by, and men would turn their backs in disgust.
Nevertheless, her flower shop is a success, and people from different towns come over to buy her flowers. A lot of people attempted to open their own flower shops, but all went in vain.
'We must know her secret,' said one neighbor who loves to bath herself in powdery perfumes.
'She must be a witch or a shaman for all I know!' said one who tried to open her own flower shop but failed. 'She must have cursed my shop.'
'I heard she is a blessing and a curse,' said another one with rollers on her hair as she chewed cherry gums that tainted her lips.
'Tell us about it,' said Mrs. Powder Scent. She and Mrs. Flower Shop Fail leaned closer to Mrs. Hair Rollers.
She was named after the flower Hyacinth because when her mother, Katherine, died upon giving birth to her, a pink Hyacinth bloomed in her garden for the first time ever. Jacinta is a Spanish translation of Hyacinth, although none of her parents had any Spanish roots. As she grew up, the neighbors called her Jinta as supposed to Jacinta that was supposed to be a pretty, delicate flower. And she's quite the opposite.
Jinta's mother loved flowers, but she didn't have a green thumb. She always envied all her neighbors' gardens every spring when their gardens are in full bloom.
'Why can't I grow flowers?' she would say in despair. Whatever she planted either died or survived but never produced any flowers.
Her father, Daniel, thought that her daughter was what Katherine's plants were waiting for (only if plants really knew how to wait), assuming that all of those were a miracle instead of a mere coincidence. When he brought the infant Jacinta home, the garden was in full bloom; he was in tears. He started cultivating the flowers, and their garden was the most beautiful in the neighborhood.
'And what d'ya think is her secret? Why is her flower shop a success?' asked Mrs. Flower Shop Fail.
'We need to find out,' said Mrs. Rollers, who still kept chewing her cherry gum.
The three Mmes paid poor Tomas, a homeless boy, to spy on Jinta.
'This money is enough to get you by for a week,' said Mrs. Rollers.
Tomas swallowed in fear as he accepted the money.
One afternoon, he followed Jinta on her way home.
Jinta went straight to her garden and started singing. Her voice was like church bells, and the flowers swayed with her rhythm. The butterflies followed her and the birds and the bees seemed to hum with her. The whole garden seemed so bright and sparkling with magic clouds of dust. It seems that everything she touches comes to life. All the while, Tomas was watching this spectacle behind a bush. He was hardly breathing so as not to get any attention.
Jinta looked at the bush and walked towards it. Closer. And closer. Sweat dripped from his forehead. He must not be found. Little did he know that no matter where he hides, she will find him, for she is one with all the plants in her garden.
Jinta peeped into the bush. 'Hello there, little Tomas.'
He was surprised. Jinta's voice is like an angel and nobody heard her voice ever. He imagined that her voice must be creaky like a witch but it was otherwise.
'Come out,' she said with her gap-toothed smile.
"I'm sorry,' Tomas said.
'Why are you sorry?'
'They asked me to follow you to know your secret.'
'My secret?' she asked, surprised.
'Yeah, they said I need to know why your flower shop is successful. And I need to tell them. They paid me to do this.'
Jinta smiled. She opened the door to the house and motioned her hands for Tomas to get in. They headed straight into the kitchen and asked Tomas to sit in the dining. She served him fresh strawberries and a glass of milk. He devoured the sweetest strawberries he ever tasted in his life.
She placed her elbows on the table, her palms on each side of her cheeks.
'There's no such secret, Tomas,' she said smiling. 'You only need to pour your heart into what you do.'
Tomas was looking at her with a mouth filled with strawberries.
'Would you like to stay for dinner?' she asked.
Poor Tomas, who didn't have proper meals for a week, didn't hesitate to say yes to the invitation.
While Jinta was preparing their dinner, Tomas wandered about the living area and saw a pile of books on the shelf. He picked one and brought it to her.
'Missus, d'ya think you can lend'is to me?'
She smiled. 'Of course.'
Tomas was jumping with excitement and started reading the book until dinner was served.
'How d'ya call this missus?'
'That's Chicken Pot Pie. Do you like it?'
He nodded with his cheeks full of food.
After his sumptuous dinner, Tomas bid Jinta goodbye and walked home.
The next day, Tomas went to the three Misses and told them what happened to his mission. They all listened in shock. They could not believe a thing that Tomas said.
'Bring us there, ' said Mrs. Rollers.
Tomas walked the same path as when he followed Jinta. When they reached the place, there was no house or garden—just an empty lot with tall weeds.
'You gotta be kidding us!' said the angry Mrs. Rollers.
'Tell us the truth!' said Mrs. Flower Shop Fail. 'Did she pay you more than we did? We can double the price. Just tell us where it is.'
'No ma'am,' said Tomas nervously, looking to his left and right to ensure that he was in the correct location. 'I'm sure this is the place.'
The three Mmes looked at Tomas in disdain and asked him to go with them to Jinta's flower shop.
To their surprise, Jinta was not there. A man in his late forties was sitting in the middle of all the flowers.
'How can I help the ladies and the young mister?' He said with a genuine smile.
'Where is Jinta?' Mrs. Rollers said.
'Who?' asked the gentleman.
'Where is she, the ugly flower seller?' asked Mrs. Powdery Scent.
'What do you mean?' asked the confused gentleman. 'I've been the flower seller here for decades.
The three Mmes and poor Tomas were all confused. Tomas told the gentleman the whole story.
And finally, the gentleman asked Tomas, 'what is the title of the book?'