Dear Gift Shop Girl

February 5, 2013
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Dear Flower Shop Girl

“Two more minutes.” said Michelle. Her eyes were fixed on the clock as she waited for it to strike six. The shop was empty, typical before close. “Hey Michelle, do you mind if I head out, I’ve got errands to run and want to be home before this rain gets worse.” said Paige, one of Michelle’s coworkers. “Yeah no problem, go for it.” she replied. She looked back at the clock. And we are closed! Michelle placed the close sign in the window and turned back to go count down her register.
As she was counting, she heard a knock on the door. “We’re closed!” she yelled out, without looking up. Knock-knock. “I said we’re closed!” she looked up and saw an old man peering into the shop and looking at all the flowers. She pretended not to see him, and continued counting the money. I think he saw me, she thought. Aghh, I can’t just ignore him. She reluctantly closed her register and went to unlock the door. “I’m sorry sir, we’re closed. We open tomorrow at nine, stop by then ok?” she didn’t wait for a response and began to close the door. “Please, I only want to buy some flowers. All the shops nearby have already closed too.” He just wants to buy some flowers, and I just want to go home. “Sir, I’ve already started counting my money, I cannot take anymore payments.” “It’s okay; I’ll pay with a card. Please, I just need some flowers for my wife.” Michelle sighed. “Fine, but hurry up, I have a lot of things I need to do and I don’t want to get caught in this rain.” The old man thanked her and walked into the shop. “I just need some roses. I want all the roses you have.” Michelle rolled her eyes. Seriously? she thought. “Sir, that’s a lot of roses.” “It’s okay, I’ll take them all.” he said while smiling. “I have to get the ones from the back and put them in boxes. Wait for me at the register.” She walked away to a room in the back and returned minutes later with several big boxes. “That’s all the roses we have in the store. It’s going to bring you to a total of $437.89.” The old man handed over his card and smiled again at Michelle. “When you love someone, there is no quantity on the amount.” he said. So buying $400 worth of flowers is going to show her that you love her? thought Michelle. “Well, I’m sure she’ll love these. Thank you for your service; come again.” she said without a smile. She went back to counting her money and watched as the old man took the boxes and left. Finally! Now I can go home. She finished counting the drawer and then went on to clean up the shop and prepare it for the next day. About an hour later she was done. “Alright!” she said to herself as she put away the broom; “All done.” She grabbed her coat and keys and locked up the shop.
On the drive home, about a mile away from the shop, she noticed the old man walking on the sidewalk, still carrying those big boxes of roses. He seriously walked all this way? She thought. Aghh, I feel bad, look at this rain. No, he didn’t see you, just go home. C’mon, He probably doesn’t live far, offer him a ride. “Aghh, fine!” she said to herself. She pulled over on the side of the road and waved at the old man. “Hey, it’s really raining hard; let me give you a lift.” “Oh, thank you, you’re so kind. I’m just going two blocks over.” Michelle helped the old man put all the flowers in her trunk. “Just stay on this road and turn right on Maple.” “Maple? That road only leads to the-“she stopped mid-sentence. Cemetery, she thought. “My wife passed about six years ago.” said the old man. “Every week for the past six years, I’ve gone to visit her and bring her fresh flowers. But the cancer has spread and the doctor said tomorrow I have to start chemotherapy. I’m afraid my time on this earth is growing short, and soon I will be too weak to go and bring her flowers. I don’t want her to think I forgot about her, so I’m leaving all these here to make up for the weeks I’ll be gone, until I can meet up with her again someday.” Michelle was speechless. She continued to drive in silence, trying to think of the right words to say. “Listen; about back at the store, I’m sorry if I was rude with you.” “Sweetie, it’s fine, you don’t have to feel bad. I’ve lived a long life and I’m pleased with it.” She nodded with a small smile, trying to hold back tears. “Thank you for the ride, I can walk from here.” Michelle helped the old man get the flowers out of the trunk and watched as he walked away into the cemetery, with a smile on his face. I don’t know how he’s so happy, she thought.
A few months later, Michelle received a card in the mail from the hospital.
Dear Flower Shop Girl,

I am happy to say that I’ll get to see my dear wife again soon. Thank you for giving me a ride that day, it meant a lot to me that I visited her. I hope someday you can encounter such a joy in your life, like I had in mine. You’re young, go travel the world, leave the shop every once in a while. There’s more to life than just making money and paying bills…
Best wishes,
The old man with a smile
She placed the card back in the envelope and noticed there was something still inside it. On a piece of paper was a date and time written down, and attached to it was the old man’s obituary.

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