The Girl Who Got Mad at Flowers


A: Love is a pink hula hoop!
B: Love is a blue umbrella!

A gives B pink hula hoop
B gives A blue umbrella

A: Why did you give me this blue umbrella?
B: Why did you give me this pink hula hoop?

Both sulk.

Valentine’s Day is loaded. Coupled, uncoupled, madly swiping dating profiles–so many of us carry the heavy baggage of expectation. Many years ago I worked with a girl named April who was dating a Very Nice Man who sent her a bouquet at the office. Not any cheap grocery store number, either. It was a mixed bouquet of dramatic, thoughtful blooms. April burst into tears and practically hurled the flowers into the trash. I asked her what was wrong.

“It’s Valentine’s Day! I wanted roses,” she sniffed, and then stormed off to fix her mascara.

I’m thinking a lot about love and its expectations. What I expect of it, and what it expects of me. And how we brush up against each other the unlikeliest of ways. I was sick last week and my ex-boyfriend had a bag of vitamins, ginger, tea and horrific-tasting┬ánatural┬áremedies couriered over to me. I had a small dinner party last night and one of my best girlfriends, Meghan, brought over the most beautiful white roses; Linda arrived with Year of the Goat prosperity envelopes and decorations. I finally found a worthy home for Grace’s soft white cotton baby dress with the lace sewn on by her grandmother. As I handed it to Erika, who is hugely pregnant with her first child, we both got unexpectedly teary. And Grace made happy red and pink construction paper hearts and some kind of Dixie-cup butterfly thing that we’ve taped proudly to our window to signify that Love Lives Here.

Hoping you find your love somewhere tucked away in a corner where you forgot to look.

Vanessa McGradyThe Girl Who Got Mad at Flowers

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