“I really wanted pink tulips.”
He overheard her speaking on the phone, her voice edgy even as she tried to keep it low. Then she sniffled.
He couldn’t help shaking his head. Women and their flowers. I’ll never get it. He walked to the dining room and found the afternoon’s delivery, which she had already put in a vase. Peach. He would hardly have noticed the difference.
Dinner turned out lovely. She was exquisite in her little white dress. Last week he had thought it funny, her announcement that tonight would be special: a celebration of the one hundredth month since their first date. Having just finished the feast she had prepared, he thought it was actually quite nice, after all, waxing nostalgic, holding hands like a young couple. He was careful not to mention the tulips, but she did, recalling the pink centerpiece on their table on that first evening they were together. He noticed her expression darken the smallest bit everytime she glanced at the peach blooms.
Not four months later he was sitting by her deathbed, and it was then he understood. She’d wanted them pink. She’d wanted them perfect. He ordered boxes upon boxes of them, tried to wake her up when they arrived. Look, they’re all pink, hundreds of your lovely tulips!
But it wasn’t the same, and nothing was, ever again.