A friend brought flowers a week ago with a note that said, “You can’t kill these.” I’m paraphrasing. She says she is not good with plants and I say I am not good with plants, but she assures me that the cyclamen will survive. It was a particularly endearing gift as she loves color, but knows I like white flowers so she gave me what I would want instead of what she would want. That’s a good friend.
A few days after their arrival I came into the kitchen and they had collapsed over the edge of their bowl in a melodramatic heap. Like my youngest child they quickly learned that to get any attention around here you have to have a very big reaction. It was either their location by the breezy subzero window or a lack of water, but they made their point.
(As an aside, it was during this discovery that I realized that there is no good connotation of the adjective “limp.” While one can have a “wicked” back swing and that sort of thing, I could not think of one situation in which limp is good. I’ll go as far as to say that limp is something I never want to be.)
I gave them a good drink – not too little, not too much – and waited. I sat at the table and talked to them a little, pointing out interesting things in the Times. Nothing. Back and forth to feed the dogs and let the dogs out and let the dogs in, all the while looking at the patients out of the corner of my eye. No. I was sure I’d killed them.
But after my shower I came downstairs to refill my coffee cup and they were as jaunty and jovial as ever. They called “Hello!” as I passed by and, thankfully, did not hold a grudge. I can only say that I am disappointed that they were too shy to let me see their rejuvenation as I would have surely enjoyed the ballet of each bloom on its slender stem rising from its bow.