Last night I had a few friends over for a pre-New Years Eve dinner. It was a casual affair--we ate winter squash gnocchi with brown butter and Parmesan on plates on our laps in the living room and sipped wine out of tumblers. Friends filtered in one-by-one,starting just before six. The last to arrive was my friend Paul.
Just as I was beginning to wonder if he would be coming over at all, he rang the doorbell. He greeted me with a grin and handed me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers I had ever seen. I was so surprised and touched by his gift that I could barely find my words. Though a time-honored gesture, I couldn't remember the last time anyone had presented me with a bouquet. And then...I did.
Sometime in 2006 (or maybe it was 2007?), my then-boyfriend gave me a simple glass vase for my birthday. I was, for lack of a better word, annoyed. I've never been the kind of person who cares about things like vases (nor area rugs, decorative lamps or most other things in the home decor bracket). The vase felt like evidence of how little that boyfriend knew me, as did the bunch of wilting pink roses he bought to go with it. In retrospect, I realize he was just clueless about gift-giving and probably figured that girls like flowers and therefore, vases. Still, the second we broke up, I relegated the vase to the cabinet underneath my kitchen sink where the only time I would have to look at it was when I was looking for Windex.
But last night the vase came out for the first time since 2008. As I rinsed its dust away and filled it with water, trimmed the ends of the lilies and red sunflowers (and a couple of other exotic-looking flowers I can't identify) and arranged them, I found that the annoyance I'd associated with the vase had faded. I actually found it kind of beautiful.