Last week I had one of those moments. The kind where I start to fear this is it. Me. Alone. Forever. I hate thinking that way. Which is probably why I usually don’t. On the rare occasion I ponder the thought of an indefinite singleness, I twist it into a positive and find happiness in the notion of a solo existence. I can sleep in the middle of the bed and pee with the bathroom door open. I can let the dishes pile up in the sink and fart without fearing detection. I can delay a bikini wax and not always wear my sexy underwear. But last week the silver lining to being single was absent.
It was just shy of six thirty on Friday night and I was still at the office plugging away. Everyone else had already departed to start the weekend. With my coworkers gone, I clicked the volume of my music one notch louder. In the middle of some Coldplay and an Excel spreadsheet, I heard a knock on the front door. I shuffled to the entrance and released the lock only to be greeted by a lovely vase filled with daisies and freesia and lilies.
“Sign here,” the delivery guy instructed as he handed me a form.
“Who are they for?” I asked with genuine curiosity.
“Paige Jennifer,” he slowly sounded out as he read his paperwork.
“Really?” I asked with disbelief.
Sporting a silly smile stretching ear to ear, I relocked the door, placed the flowers on my desk and reached for the card. Engittorney was pretty much caput and Reading was either caput or married. Either way, I had no idea who’d sent the flowers.
I unfolded the note stapled to the wrapping and began scanning the message. They were from my friend Marylou. She wanted to thank me for organizing our recent return trip to Beaumont and for helping her with some online research for a new job. Personally, I don’t think either of those efforts warrants flowers. Maybe a you-da-bestest email but not a selection of petals in a vase. I just about cried as I pulled back the cellophane and breathed in the gentle fragrance of a fully blossomed lily. As the floral scent tickled my nose, I started to feel, well, emotional.
Part of me was sad because the flowers hadn’t come from a guy. God that sounds so pathetic. Especially coming from a Smithie. But fuck it. Yes, there I said it. I wanted the flowers to be from a man. I’d go and explain it all but I’m pretty sure I don’t have to. You get it without me wrapping words around the desire.
I also felt overwhelmed by this unexpected sense of love. Listen, I know I’m loved in the general sense but this was the kind of feeling I haven’t had in a long time. That someone who didn’t know me all that well went and did something simply for the sake of doing it for me. In an attempt to sidestep the more obvious love landmine my thoughts were gravitating toward, I straightened the flowers on my desk and went back to the piles I’d been pushing around a few minutes earlier.
No matter how hard I tried to work through the moment, to override my emotions with Excel formulas, I couldn’t. There it was. The truth. The absence of love. I’m not talking about the sentiment of love but an actual love, or perhaps a lover. I was battling what-if. The fear I may never find a man who wants to send me flowers just because.
Then I started to question if I’d ever find someone who took me as is, flaws and all. Through thick and thin or in my case thick, thin, a little thicker, thinner and back to thick. Anyway, Marylou hasn’t known me all that long. Our relationship mostly came together two weeks ago when we shared a hotel room in Texas. It was over those four nights together that she saw the real me. All of me, or more importantly all of the things I can’t stand about me. She didn’t care or maybe those flaws just weren’t visible to her. It was all shadowed by the whole of me. I know it’s just a friendship but those flowers, that gesture left me feeling loved as is. I thought I had that unconditional love with Ex. I really did. That’s why I lingered beyond the expiration date. Turns out he had me duped.
I know I bring a lot to the table for a party of two. I’m comfortable in the kitchen. I enjoy taking the time to handwrite a personal note. I can make people laugh to the point of a stomach ache or in Marylou’s case a headache. And I understand that sometimes just pulling someone close and giving them a tight hug can say more than any words. I get it. At the core, I know someone one day will get it too. He’ll figure it all out and scurry to make me his. But for that moment last week, as I sat at my desk on Friday night and looked up at those flowers, that what-if as-is fear got the best of me.