Iris Spuria

By: Shariff Bukhary bin Sharifuzan

It was another sunny and beautiful day at Chancemore Street. The normal mob of people hurrying to and from their respective destinations filled the streets followed by a slightly mysterious silence. She sat there waiting for the next human soul to pick his, or her, message to be conveyed to the king, or queen of their hearts.

The smell of Four O’ Clocks and Sweet Alyssum covered the florist kiosk with a plethora of meditating scents. Skyscrapers loomed over both sides of the street, shielding her and her kiosk from the dazzling rays of sunlight.

Buying flowers was a rare occurrence, so she had a lot of time on her hands. As she was beginning to enter the world of daydreams, she noticed someone looking over the Rose collection of her kiosk. A young soul, male, and about the same age as her perhaps. She put her thoughts away and went over to help him.

He was strangely familiar and looked quite charming. He was wearing a curious expression, examining each rose carefully. Red, white and pink. A very unique combination resulting in a flood of emotions followed by a calming sensation after the flood.

“Umm, hello sir? May I help you with something?”, her usual words to customers. They exchanged looks. His eyes. Blue and green, left and right. That gaze. That soul-searching gaze. Very familiar indeed. He smiled to the question and pointed to a bouquet of pale pink roses.

“I didn’t know roses were pink”, he revealed his soft and calm voice. He was peculiar unlike other customers that she had met before. She was pretty sure about it.

“They sometimes are”, she answered. He gave her a quick glance and decided to scour the kiosk until he finally stopped at the Iris section. From the right, a sea of white, yellow, orange, red, purple and blue irises colored the façade. He hand-picked a nosegay of cold blue Irises, slowly bringing it up close for him to take in the light scent of the odor.

He decided to buy them and handed it over to her. She brought the nosegay to the counter inside and prepared the Irises in a personalized gift wrapper. ‘For you, my valentine’. The white translucent wrapper with thin red stripes did not really match up with the Irises, but nonetheless, it still seemed remarkable.

28$. A meaningful message borne in flowers deserves a dear price. As he was about to take away the flowers, another customer came over to the tulips section, admiring the beautiful, striking colors. She excused herself and went over to assist the customer.

After she left for the customer, he glanced at the Irises that he picked. He felt slightly sad looking at the nosegay, as if he was touched by a sunken memory.

He was. Slight sadness filled a portion of his heart. He stroked the flowers with his finger and he left the kiosk, leaving the flowers behind.

As soon as she was done, she headed for the counter. She felt quite surprised looking at the flowers atop the counter. A small piece of paper was written alongside it.

‘Dear Amy….’

It was a slightly radiant and exquisite day at West park. She was in her usual Saturday morning’s, jogging down the park along with the rhythm from her music player. The small lake provided an ample atmosphere for relaxing and chilling out. It was very gelid, the sun’s rays poorly giving out heat to anything it could reach. As she jogged along, she saw the plenty of people at the park going about their recreations.

She descried a young man sitting on a bench by the lake. About the same age as her, she guessed. He was holding a bouquet of garden roses, admiring the soft pink colors. Her steady pace slowly came to a halt as she examined him closer. His eyes. His left eye was blue and his right one was green. A bit appalled, his gaze met hers.

They locked eyes for a second, then they both glanced away. She was unsure of what to do in that awkwardness. Then, he gave her the flowers. With a smile, he waved a quick goodbye to her and began to tread away. Pale pink roses. She smiled at the thought of the mysterious young man blatantly giving the roses to someone whom he just met.

She decided to end her jog early that day and went home with the roses. As soon as she reached home, she took a tall glass and half-filled it with water. Culling the most beautiful rose amongst the ones in the bouquet, she inserted it carefully into the glass and put it on the kitchen table near the window. Then she left for a shower.

The rose lit up to the bright morning sunshine, showing off its pale pink colors without shame.

The next morning, she was in her everyday attire. Walking along the pathway, she paced steadily, relaxing her mind in every step she took. She glanced over to the bench to see if he was there. A bit of disappointment surfaced in herself. She brushed off the thought from her mind. It did not matter did it? She barely knew who he was.

After around half an hour, she decided to take a rest under a gazebo, facing the glittering lake under the morning sun. She eased herself, stretching her limbs and ignoring the busy street nearby. She had all day to herself anyways.

“Hello. I think we met yesterday”, she turned around to the soft voice, meeting the peculiar eyes of the one she met yesterday. She managed a smile and they sat together under the gazebo. A breeze sent the nearby cherry blossoms rustling quietly. They sat in a moment of silence, accompanied by the beauty of nature in its sublime wake in the early hours of the day.

She asked him about the flowers yesterday, but he only shrugged. He just happened to find them on the bench when he went to the park. They both shared a laugh. Soon, they were happily chatting with each other.

He introduced himself as Gray, a name that did not befit his personality. He was a painter. At least, that was what he did in his free time. Painting emotions on paper or walls was a common attribute.

She introduced herself as Amy, a name that also did not befit her personality. It was supposed to resemble a modern, but she was interested in flowers instead. Her tastes were a bit classical.

As they conversed about themselves, they knew more about each other. When the sun struck close to the late morning, they parted ways and agreed to meet up next week. The gazebo fell quiet after they left. A cherry blossom slowly floated down and landed onto the white gazebo floor, resembling a marshmallow in a sea of milk.

Week after week changed to day after day, the time passing by bringing them closer together. Soon enough, they were already contacting each other by phone, asking about their daily businesses. They grew quite acquainted with each other.

One day, after she took her morning shower, she went straight to texting him. For some reason, he did not reply immediately as he used to. Maybe he was busy, her thoughts calming herself down. She sat down on the sofa, wondering about him. Was he hurt? Did he go overseas? Thoughts began rushing into her mind again as she slowly wasted her time.

She did not waver at the striking thoughts. Although she was slightly worried, she decided it would be best for her to make the most of her day.

Later that afternoon, he managed to send a short reply. It was very brief and packed a powerful punch, it made her wonder what happened.

‘I’m sorry, can we meet up for the last time?’

The following week, she did not receive the slightest hint of response from him, as if he disappeared from this world and ventured into another. She was confused. Where? When? Why? These words kept revolving in her mind countless times. Desperate, she decided she would go to the last place she met him.

The bench at the park by the lake. It would sound hopeless searching for a clue there. Upon reaching the bench, she was flabbergasted to find a small note beside a stunningly beautiful blue flower. ‘Iris Spuria, the symbol of concern and deep affection’.

That was the end of the note. Curiosity washed over her thoughts as she wondered continuously into a realm she did not quite understand. Flowers? Something felt very sober about the thought.

She carefully stroked the flower, the astonishing petals reminded her of the deep sea. She brought herself to a nearby florist and asked about the flower. She was right. The one in her hands was the one known as Iris Spuria. She recollected everything that happened with him.

The park. The roses. His eyes. The glittering lake when they were together. The calls they made to each other. The morning jog.

The jog. That was when everything began to surface. She did not realize it until then, but she was in love. A tear slowly made its way down her left cheek.

“This flower symbolizes hope and faith. Maybe he hoped that you would understand”, the florist enunciated. She understood what the flower finally meant.

He hoped they could be honest with each other. He hoped that they could be together. He hoped that she will understand the situation they were trapped in. How could she be so vacuous?

She went back home later, bringing the flower with her. Once home, she carefully slid the Iris into the glass containing the pale pink rose. She esteemed the flowers, thinking how strangely perfect they fit with each other.

He might not be back, she thought. It might be his final message. At that moment, she realized he could be gone from her life forever. Her eccentric meeting with him at the park and how they grew acquainted with each other so quickly.

The question still hung in her mind. Why? Where? What? The only thing she could colligate him with is…

Flowers.

Flowers. Her mind could not shake off the feeling that she might see him again.

She must not forget about that fact.

He put the note and the flower on the bench. It was a ludicrous idea. One that saw a very tiny speck of hope. Will she understand? Will he be able to relay the message that he conveyed within the flower?

It did not matter. Time was already passing by. He only had this last chance to tell her. He might no longer be on the phone. He might not be there for her. He might never see her again.

His chest began to hurt. He could not bear it anymore, but if he was to live the rest of his life, he needed to perform the surgery. He was a fool for not telling her about the heart condition that he suffered.

Coronary thrombosis. It haunted him. It made him scared. He always calmed himself down by buying flowers. Its fragrance was enough to tell him that the world did not have such problems. Its beauty spoke to him, told him that it would be fine and everything would work out perfectly.

One day, at the park, he saw her. Jogging down the concrete path by the lake. It might have been love at first sight, but he was not so sure. He did not understand why he liked her. She seemed so ordinary, yet attractive.

Was it because that he saw her admiration towards flowers when she stopped beside a bench? The time when she stooped down to smell and lightly stroke the tiny lilies that grew at the foot of the bench.

That was the side that made him admire her more. The next week, he made sure that she went jogging there as her weekly routine. Then, he would purposely bring a bouquet of pale pink roses to her the following week.

He was right. Somehow, he managed to get close to her and build their relationship, even though he could not get the words out of his mouth correctly when they first met. He told her he found them instead.

The calls and texts followed. Soon, they knew each other more than he ever thought he could. Until that fateful day.

That day. That day when his heart did not let him converse with her. That day in which he suffered the throbbing pain in his chest. Somehow, she came to mind. Her smiles and laughs brought hope to him. He needed to survive.

That was the time when he realized, he was trapped in love. How could he be so fatuous? He understood then why she meant so much to him. Love was enough to overthrow reason.

He came back from the memory, a small tear rolled down his right cheek. That might be the end of their relationship. His surgery was due in a couple of hours. This might be goodbye.

He left the Iris and the note on the bench.

As soon as she was done, she headed for the counter. She felt quite surprised looking at the flowers atop the counter. A small piece of paper was written alongside it.

‘Dear Amy,

I’m sorry things did not turn out the way it was supposed to. I hope you understand. That day, when I suddenly disappeared from your life. It was sad, thinking I would never be able to see you again. Yet here you are, right in front of my eyes. I guess I was away for too long. Take these instead. It will help’.

She took another look at the Irises. A sad smile slowly made its way to her face.

She remembered now. She understood why she became a florist. She understood that their relationship did not waver over the 6 years that passed. She has been waiting for this day to come. It took so long, she almost forgot.

She kept the nosegay beneath the counter.

He stepped into the florist shop. Heading straight for the counter, he was greeted by the Irises that he chose yesterday. Beside them, a pair of pale pink roses. He managed a smile.

“I didn’t know roses were pink too”, he turned around to her voice behind him. There she was, holding a bouquet of pale pink roses. She did not change so much after

The years, nor did he. She approached the counter, settling down the bouquet amongst the pair of roses.

Together, they left the florist shop behind and went outside for some fresh air and memories together.

The nosegay and roses fitted perfectly atop the counter, as if a bride and groom were holding hands together. They glowed under the morning rays of light.