Liam enjoys his flower shop more than anything, but he's in for a major surprise.
| The flowers had just been drenched with water, as they had been every 24 hours. Getting the timing right on when to water them was the tricky part; Liam had to perfectly estimate when the sun would shine through the flower shop’s windows and pepper the pedals with bright light. This had been a pesky thing to master when he first started out as a florist, but as weeks turned into years, he became adept at this.
Liam enjoyed waking up every morning and running his business. Each new day represented the start of nurturing flowers that would grow to become stunning representations of his labor. An average person wouldn’t know it, but Liam recognized each flower as having its own personality. The lively yellows of tulips were extroverted; they had an exuberant nature about them that brightened up any room in which they were present. The deep reds of roses were more mature and thoughtful. While the dark blues of irises seemed gloomy with a hint of nostalgia for a happier time. He graciously threw himself into admiring each and every flower for its own unique qualities. For if he ignored a single flower, it wouldn’t have the capability of blossoming into something truly lovely. And in Liam’s eyes, that was the most sinful crime one could commit.
Liam’s flower shop was run solely by him. He didn’t trust a single soul with caring for his beloved flowers. At first he wisely exploited the help of five employees, simply because he needed the sheer human power of building his own business. But overtime, as the business began to grow and succeed, Liam no longer required help from anyone, so gradually, he let go of his staff. They were of course devastated, but nothing could change Liam’s mind. He knew the best way to run his business, and in his opinion they just got in the way.
The location of his flower shop was strategically placed right in the middle of a crowded shopping center. Surrounded by stores bustling with customers, this naturally garnered more attention for his shop. With his business booming, there was nothing affecting Liam negatively. He immersed himself in his work and in his opinion, that was just perfect.
The brown of the soil was sopping wet with its newly acquired friend: water. At first the water mingled on top of the soil, making a small lake, but steadily it began to seep into the dirt and disguise itself.
Liam closed the watering can and stared intently at his expansive shop filled with life. His bearded face widened with a smile as he allowed himself to become overrun with pride. To the left were rows of sunflowers which wholly attracted most of his customers. In the right corner were groups of splendid indigos, and above those were hanging pots of chrysanthemums. Along the back wall were varying flowers including begonias, marigolds, harvestbells, and his personal favorite, tiger lilys.
The sun started to reveal itself, as its intense rays of heat reflected off his circular glasses. An assortment of colors livened up the shop as their beautiful qualities were accentuated by the sun’s company. He had timed it perfectly once again, and to celebrate, the tune of Singing the Blues started to protrude from his mouth. Never had he not welcomed the light which brought with it the necessary ingredients for life. Liam looked down at his muddy hands; happily, he admired their worn features. For so long he marveled at doing the thing he loved, but when he regarded his hands, the thought of retirement came to him. Is it time? He brushed the overwhelming thought aside and continued getting prepared for the day.
Right at 10 a.m. the shop opened its doors for anybody to come in and experience what Liam claimed was heaven on earth. He rushed to clean himself up and welcome the first batch of people waiting at the door. They were a young couple, probably around 25 years old. As he hoped, they looked eager to come in and explore the fruits of his labor.
“Hello there, welcome to my shop. As you can see there’s all kinds of choices to choose from, for any occasion.” His arm gestured first to the sunflowers, then made a sweeping movement to expose the rest of the shop.
“Oh thank you! We’re just looking for now.” The man smiled and ushered his girlfriend in as they proceeded to the back wall.
Liam gave a curt nod and walked himself to the register. He noticed they were fixated on the bright orange begonias. I wonder what’s the occasion? Liam thought to himself as they eventually moved on to the marigolds. He always had a keen eye for noticing the little things about his customers. Younger people generally enjoyed bright displays of flowers; they were interested in optimistic colors that related to how they felt about the world. While older people usually preferred the classic colors like white, or red. He nodded kindly at the couple as they left the shop without purchasing anything.
Sunlight now blanketed every inch of the store, allowing the flowers to be advertised in all their beauty. He stood at the register feeling more tired than usual. The routine tenacity with which Liam attacked his work days was lost on this particular morning. His mind raced to sobering thoughts of simply going to sleep and relaxing, whereas these thoughts typically didn’t haunt his mind until the day’s end. He decided to dismiss these feelings with walking over to the bright blue harvestbells and meticulously tend to them. He relished in simply staring into the harvestbells. Their blue pedals reminded him of the ocean, and the ocean reminded him of the calming sound of waves. He closed his eyes, imagining himself feeling the rush of being hit by a wave. The cold salty water caressing his skin and wetting his hair as he playfully immersed himself in the vastness of the ocean. Oh how he missed the beach. If it weren’t for his flowers, he would be there right now, basking in the sun and relishing in the magnificence of the ocean.
“Sir? Uh-hum. Can you help me please?” He suddenly noticed a repetitive pat on his shoulder. He pivoted and saw a strikingly pretty woman standing in front of him. She was shorter than him, with long brown hair that reached her belt line, and stunning blue eyes that resembled his beloved harvestbells.
“Oh goodness, I’m extremely sorry. I got carried away, please forgive me. Today is just not my day”. He allowed himself a soft chuckle to try and hide his embarrassment. “How may I help you?”.
“Oh its ok. I’ve only just gotten here, but I was wondering if you had any of these types of flowers?” She gestured to a picture of bright pink pedals. “I recently discovered these and I want to plant them in my garden. I just love how lively they are.” Her eyes seemed to brighten up with excitement, as a soft smile formed along her face.
“Oh yes, those would be petunias. And they are right over here.” His feet moved at a quick pace towards the front of the store. He wanted to quickly forget about his careless mishap. “I agree with you wholeheartedly on the liveliness of them. In my kitchen at home I actually have a batch placed right in the middle of the dining table. I seem to always get compliments whenever I have guests, so these are perfect for really anything.” This was a lie. He had an expansive collection of flowers at his house, but not bright pink petunias. Liam was feeling giddy and hoped to spark conversation. Deceitful, but nonetheless clever.
“Oh how wonderful.” The hands of the woman graciously touched the pedals as she leaned in to smell the petunias. Everything about her demeanor spruced up as her nose took in the aroma. “I will definitely be buying these today.” She handed him the petunias as he led her to the register.
His eyes suddenly felt bogged by some weird anomaly. Each blink he took became more and more lackadaisical. What is wrong with me? He thought to himself.
“Great choice. Let me just ring you up over h--”
His right hand then grasped the counter next to him for support. The petunias in his left hand plunged to the floor. An unbelievable pain came from inside his chest; crippling his entire body. He felt as if his insides were being ripped apart by some cruel enemy. Or better yet a monster trying to free itself from within his heart. With a loud thud, his body collapsed to the floor right next to the petunias.
“Oh my god!!” The woman gasped with hysteria. She reached for her phone and frantically started dialing.
Liam lay sprawled on the floor, not moving an inch.
Liam felt thin sheets under him, and warm socks hugging his feet. As he opened his eyes he noticed a woman peacefully sleeping in a chair next to his bed. She looked familiar to him, but not enough to exactly pinpoint how he knew her. Brown wavy hair mixed seamlessly with her chest. So innocent looking, Liam wondered why she had been there and how they had met. I'll ask politely whenever she wakes, Liam thought to himself.
Drearily, he realized he wasn’t surrounded by flowers anymore, but rather a somber hospital room. His arms and legs felt as if they were locked down by invisible chains, not allowing him to move a muscle. This would’ve alarmed him on any given day, but on this day he was just happy to still be breathing.
The woman in the chair stirred a bit, but continued to dream as a nurse walked past the room. The nurse carelessly didn’t look in the room and consequently ignored the fact that Liam had woken up; this pleased him. He wanted to contemplate just for a few more minutes on how he was going to close his flower shop.
In his mind, this was God’s way of telling him it was time. Relief subsided over his sore body. He relished in the fact that he was finally going to have some free time to do whatever he pleased. Thoughts of sailing the ocean, playing golf, and finding someone to love came over him. Achingly he angled his head towards the unknown woman in the chair, and took note of her unwavering beauty. For the first time he saw a pot of mangled up petunias sitting on the desk next to her. The pedals sagged and looked withered away. I wonder who she is? Thought Liam as he closed his eyes and started to dream the happiest of fantasies.