After the show, bouquets took over the apartment, preening above my life’s neglected minutia. Delphinium trumpeted above the half-written birthday cards and half-read letters; gerbera daisies flounced atop books and script pages and the city census.
I would love to love fancy floral arrangements. Indeed, I welcome them into my home with the cordiality I’d offer a shiny-shouldered dignitary. They preside over my apartment with a gravity that befits their glory. I go about my business with the occasional deferential glance.
But no one feels at ease. I don’t want them towering over my messy apartment, looking superior. They don’t want me abandoning them for eight, nine hours at a time. What’s the use of such splendor with no one to take it in?
After a week the niceties wear thin. I haven’t watered them daily as their labels demanded. They’ve begun drooping in what seems to me an unnecessarily accusatory fashion. I want to give up, to haul them to the nearest compost pile.
How easily I am overwhelmed. Not only by stress and sorrow but also by beauty and joy. Lately my life feels like a fancy floral arrangement. Performing my dream role for two weekends of sold-out shows. Finding a wedding dress. Choosing reception hors d’oeuvres and making guest lists for bridal showers. Gearing up for an unknown future. “How exciting,” friends say, and I smile weakly.
Take it apart, Hannah. Pull it to pieces stem by stem, the way you dismantled the bouquets. Nobody says you have to keep the vase the florist sent. Nobody’s forcing you to behold all that beauty in a single glance.
Slide a rose into the old aluminum can and set it next to the kitchen soap.
Nestle gerberas in wine glasses on the hutch.
Divide the mums into champagne flutes beneath the white board.
And as the petals shrivel and the glowing faces nod, take each one into your hands and give thanks. It’s a short trip to the compost bucket. Why not glide your fingers over the silky petals and inhale one last whiff of sweetness on your way?
This life so often feels like a series of chores. Each one is a scrap of possibility, never-before-seen footage from a singular existence.
Right now your fiancé is singing a silly song for you. Right now the lamplight’s shining in his lashes. The desk is finally clean; the floor could use a sweeping. And life is beautiful, one blossom at a time.