The Christianist Florist


A reader writes:

A little story from my own life. Many years ago, I met a young man at a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I managed, despite my fear of rejection, to ask him out on a date and, miracle of miracles, he said yes. Just before our date, I stopped in a little neighborhood florist shop and bought him a single yellow rose. He loved it. From then on, we bought each other roses from this shop for every occasion, however little – we’re having hot dogs together! – or important – will you move in with me?

Finally the day came when I asked him to marry me and I went to buy him a single red rose from “our” florist.

In those days, we couldn’t legally marry, but my church, the Religious Society of Friends, would marry us anyway. When I told the florist how special and important this rose was, that I was asking my great love, a man, to marry me, she pulled back the rose and told me she was a good Christian and wouldn’t sell me the rose or roses ever again, not for something sick like that. We had been buying from this florist for five years and never happened to mention what they were for.

The place was always busy, we were in a hurry, so it never came up, but I was so bursting with pride and joy that I was asking the man I loved more than life itself to marry me, to be with me until death, I said something that day. I left empty-handed and broken-hearted. The joy in what I was about to do had a cold pail of hate thrown on it. I asked him to marry me without a rose from “our” shop. He said yes anyway and he was with me until he died from a fire in 1981.

I still bring a rose to his grave every year, but not from our florist.