True love story: The Tulips

It was a day I was tempted to erase from the calendar. Then a trip to the grocery store changed everything.
My dad had just been taken to hospital, again, in a city just far enough away to be beyond reach. I had just returned home only a few days before, had rescheduled appointments, needed to try and put in a few hours for pay …. and on and on. I attempted to forge on while I awaited news from Emergency, and checked my list., Buy a thank-you bouquet for a local merchant who went above and beyond in supporting our author and her book sales. I scooted into the supermarket, scanned the floral arrays, and settled on a pot of tulips, just barely beginning to open. I hustled to the checkout, one ear to my phone, a hand on my wallet, as if moving quickly would somehow get this chaotic day over with faster.
“Aren’t these lovely!” ┬áthe cashier enthused. Alice, her name tag said. A pleasant lady somewhere between my age and my mom’s, I’m guessing.
Drawn in my her warmth, I smiled and agreed.
“My husband loved tulips. When he passed away, oh, about 12 years ago now,” she paused, bag in midair, then tucked the plant inside, “we had tulips at the funeral home. All kinds of them.” She tapped the register keys. “Our best man officiated … he wasn’t a full minister when he married us,” she chatted as we waited for my debit card to be approved. “There was one big tulip that wasn’t open. But when the minister started the service, it opened. Right then. Just like that.”
I swallowed against the lump in my throat. “That was a beautiful story,” I whispered. “What an amazing thing.’
“Yes, it was,” she beamed, handing me my bag. “You have a good day.”
I was now. Even the lump in my throat suddenly became beautiful, a sign that I could be touched by another’s words, that I could feel more than resentment and exhaustion.
That is why we need to share our stories. That is love.

Thanks for reading.