I realized Mother’s Day was just two days
away, so I went into the florist and said, “I’d
like to send my mother a dozen long-stem red
roses.” The guy looked at me and said, “My mother’s
dead.” I thought this was slightly unprofessional
of him, so I said, “How much would that be?” He
wiped his eyes and said, “Oh, that’s all right. I’m
over it, really. She never loved me anyway, so why
should I grieve.” “Can they be delivered by Thursday?”
I inquired. “She hated flowers,” he said. “I’ve
never known a woman to hate flowers the way she did.
She wanted me to be a dentist, like her father.
Can you imagine that, torturing people all day.
Instead, I give them pleasure. She disowned me,
really. And yet I miss her,” and then he started
crying again. I gave him my handkerchief and he
blew his nose heartily into it. My annoyance had
given way to genuine pity. This guy was a mess.
I didn’t know what to do. Finally I said, “Listen,
why don’t you send a dozen roses to my mother. You
can tell her you are a friend of mine. My mother
loves flowers, and she’ll love you for sending them
to her.” He stopped crying and scowled at me. “Is
this some kind of trick? A trap or something, to
get me tied up in a whole other mother thing, because
if it is, I mean, I just got rid of one, and I can’t
take it, another I mean, I’m not as strong as I
appear. . . .” “Forget it,” I said, “it was a bad idea,
and I’m certainly not sending my mother any flowers
this year, that too was a bad idea. Will you be
all right if I leave now, I have other errands, but
if you need me I can stay.” “Yes, if you could stay
with me a while. My name is Skeeter and Mother’s
Day is always such a trial for me. I miss her more
every passing day,” he said. And so we sat there
holding hands for an hour or so, and then I was on
my way to the cleaners, the bank and the gas station.