So, we had a party for my friend Tamara. Tamara is a microbiologist by day, actress by night, and Friday was opening night for her new play. Our house is about a block from the theater, so we decided to host cockails before and after the show in Tamara’s honor.
We wound up with more people showing up after the play than before, but even so, ten of us toasted T at our house then sallyed forth for the theater. As we sallyed we had nary a worry or concern in our little heads, all was joy and light and happiness. The play was a delightful farce that featured an awful lot of opening and closing doors, along with mistaken identities and shenanigans. It was entertaining and fun and joy and light and happiness. Tamara was brilliant in the performance, as were my shoes, who played an important supporting role on T’s feet.
The cast did an imaginative and hilarious curtain call, and then all the actors lined up and bowed. That’s when a low, slow motion voice in the back of my mind said, “Ohhh nooo…we didn’t get Tamara flowers. You’re supposed to get actresses flowers…” I turned first to my friend Anna, a for real opera singer. Anna knows about post performance flowers. I said to Anna, “We didn’t get T flowers!” “Ohhh noooo….” said Anna. I proceeded to ask every single one of our ten friends if they had brought flowers, even though we all had sallyed forth together, and I knew full well no one had flowers. Last of all I asked Anderson, T’s special fella. “Did you think of flowers?” I asked him. “I’ve been thinking about flowers for the last four hours,” Anderson replied.
We had failed. All of us.
Except some of us had a will to succeed. And when I say some of us, I mean Brenden, who found out from Dinger that the Bi-Lo was open until 11. We agreed Anderson should stay behind to be there when Tamara emerged, but I volunteered to go on the hunt for a bouquet. Brenden threw his scarf over his shoulder and said, “Yes! Stay here!” as he ran off down the street, his scarf streaming in the wind.
Only, I didn’t hear the “Yes!” part. I only heard the “Stay Here!” And as “here” was the after-the-play reception, replete with wine, finger sandwiches and all manner of dips and other food delights, I thought to myself, Don’t mind if I do… and wandered away, thinking about a grand fellow Brenden was.
A few minutes later, Alrinthea walked up to me, and when I saw the expression on her face, several things suddenly became clear. I asked her, “When Brenden said ‘Stay Here!’ he meant stay in that little spot on the sidewalk, didn’t he? And he ran and got his car and I wasn’t there because I was here drinking a glass of wine and eating finger sandwiches?”
Alrinthea nodded and said, “He pulled up in his car like Batman and said, ‘Where’s Carrie?’ And when I said I didn’t know, he said, ‘I can’t wait. Tell her I’ve gone for the flowers.’ Then he raced off into the night.” Making this retelling all the better was Al’s rather glorious Christian Bale-as-Batman impression.
I went over to Anderson, and told him what had just happened. We agreed it was fitting that after watching a farce we then had a farcical misunderstanding of the request to “Stay here!” I suggested to Anderson that perhaps we should start opening and closing some doors.
I kept an eye out for Brenden, and just as I started to worry about the amount of time that had elapsed, he appeared, holding his arm behind his back. I worked my way through the crowd and up to the hero of the hour. “Did you get the flowers?” I asked. “Well,” he said, “sort of.” He then revealed a fistful of pink flowers.Their roots had been carefully tucked into a little ball. “Let’s go outside,” I said, and guided Brenden and his flowers out of the reception hall.
“I went to the Bi-Lo,” Brenden said, “And the hours were posted, they’re open until 11, but the one door didn’t open, so I went to the other door, and it didn’t open, and there was a guy walking around in there, and then I see a sign that said, ‘Closing at 10 for renovations.’ It was 10:04! I got there at 10:04!”
“I’m so sorry,” I said.
I thanked Brenden profusely for his heroic actions, then hid the pink flowers in one of the large pots out front of the reception hall. On the way home, I retrieved the pink flowers, picked off the rest of their roots, and I started to find some flower friends for them. I passed a huge flowering hedge, and liberated some branches. I passed some pretty pansies, and picked a couple. Finally, nature provided some beautiful honeysuckle to complete the bouquet.
Once home, I fetched a vase and put the stolen bounty in some water. It was a surprisingly pretty bouquet, in my humble estimation.
We then presented T with her flowers, and, more importantly, with a full scale reinactment, each of us playing our respective parts. Tamara laughed so hard she cried, and graciously said it was the most memorable after-the-show bouquet she’d ever received.