Fiction,  Outskirts of Heaven

Flowers for Sarah

“Have you heard…?” Jesse Plain asked on Friday afternoon, picking up flowers for his wife on his way home from work. It was her birthday. Jesse bought her flowers for every occasion. His wife had never once been in Awesome Blossom herself so Chelsea didn’t have any idea if they were appreciated but she supposed they were since he kept coming back and buying more.

“Yes, of course, I’ve heard,” Chelsea said.

“Well, I didn’t want to assume you had, and I thought you’d want to know.  Even if just to steer clear.”

“He’s barely a memory to me,” Chelsea said. To an extent that was true.  She remembered Honor as a young man. He was now almost 40, had been married and had a daughter. He’d been stationed in many places and then lived the last 5 or so years of his life on the west coast, in California. She imagined he’d barely resemble the man she once knew.

Jesse nodded. Jesse knew them both. He was one of the few from their class who stayed behind after graduation.  He got a job working for his father’s boat yard and worked her way up.  In the next couple years, he’d likely take it over for his father to retire.  Jesse was one of the good ones.  Always kind to her. He had also been friends with Honor but friendships among men don’t fracture the way love affairs do.  Jesse went out to California for a week to visit with his friend before Honor got married. Chelsea didn’t ask questions.

There were other customers in the shop that Chelsea wanted to get to.  She could tell Jesse wanted to continue the conversation and she was grateful for the interruptions of a couple of tourists looking for flowers for their rental home.

“Have a great day, Jesse.  Happy Birthday to Sarah.”

She helped the other customers pick out bouquets for their dining table and entry way- custom designs with rhododendron, azalea and baby’s breath. She scheduled the delivery and took their payment as if by habit because her mind was on Honor and all the reasons he might be coming home.

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