Daysong Graphics
Peonies On Wednesday

I bundle the roses together and slide baby’s breath on both sides of the bouquet. As I inhale, a sweet aroma finds its way down into my lungs. Old lady lungs.

I step to the refrigerated case and set the bouquet inside with a handful of other multicolored roses. The bells above the door chime. I scurry back behind the counter.

In walks a man I immediately recognize. He’s been in every Wednesday for the past year. Wednesday is the only day I work, and I’ve asked the manager and Sue, the younger gal who sometimes works at the shop, about him, but they both swear they’ve never met him.

He’s dressed in pressed corduroy pants, a golf shirt, and a tweed blazer. With a slight limp, he ambles over to where I’m fussing with daisies. The petals have scattered on the glass counter, a real “he loves me, he loves me not” embarrassment. I push the petals into two lines with the side of my hand, then reach for a vase of tulips to arrange.

He waves.

I smile and my heart tightens and begins thrumming throughout my body. Have I told you the elderly gentleman is nice looking?

But he’s married. One of those romantic types who probably serenades his wife and still buys her chocolates on their anniversary. It’s been fifteen years since I lost Walt. I’ve forgotten the sensation of a gentleman’s hand sweeping over my cheek.

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The Shoebox

I found it when my grandsons and I were cleaning out our attic. It was tucked into a corner, covered in dust.

“What’s that, Grammy?” asked Paul, the younger of my daughter’s boys.

His brother, Pete, sidled up to us. “It’s just a dumb old shoebox, dweeb.”

“Oh, there’s nothing dumb about this,” I countered.

In retrospect, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t honored the contents of that shoebox by storing them more neatly. Had I really been so eager to forget the pain, mingled with the warm memories, that box had held?

“What’s in there, then, Grammy?” Paul persisted.

“Duh, it’s a shoebox, so my guess would be . . . a pair of dusty old shoes,” Pete said.

I wasn’t sure I should be opening it in front of my grandsons. They were standing there, though, and both boys—too-cool teenager Pete included—appeared curious.

Fingers trembling, I lifted the lid.

“Wow, those are some funny-looking shoes,” Paul remarked.

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