The day after my birthday the doorbell rang. Sighing, I unfolded my legs from beneath me and stumbled lazily to the door. A clipboard was signed and a box handed over, an incomprehensible box with no obvious opening. But I found my way in, eventually.
Orchids. Dozens of the deepest pink orchids, beautiful in their confidence. Exotic, of course, but comforting too. Something about them, so reassuring.
Three and a half months they graced my desk. Slowly dwindling in number, one by one losing vibrancy yet still beautiful as their petals turned papery and lost their plumpness. Beautiful as a face lined after a life lived long.
I picked the final heads today, snapping them from their stalks which still stood strong. The antithesis of the tired, lazy tulip, fading after a week in the sun. Stalks left bare and sculptural I took the heads and found the plate. My favourite plate. A plate among the many hand-me-downs that made The Boy's first house a home. A plate that sang out at me from cupboards populated with cheap matching crockery and the occasional unwanted specimen left over from a parent's kitchen, its fellows long gone.
I gathered it under my arm and drifted though the dusty north light of late afternoon, looking for a place to set it down.
Three and a half months I had waited to see that pink with that green. The colours such a perfect harmony that it seemed so simple - of course The Boy had saved his pennies and bought a flat, of course his parents had given him the plate instead of sending it to a charity shop only to be discarded because it had a chip; of course two years later he met a girl and of course four years after that the girl's mother would send her flowers. Perfect deep pink flowers, made to lie on that plate in the pale light of a Scottish day. Of course.
As with all of the greatest harmonies, it was so very simple.