She smelled like flowers. Not like that “love is like a rose” nonsense but like actual flowers. She enjoyed pressing daisies and carnations and dandelions and any other kind she could get her hands on. I would open one of her textbooks and see little sprigs of lavender lined up under a picture of a nebula. Or I would go to pick up the novel she’d been reading and find a forget-me-not trapped between the back cover and the table.
I never used to care much for flowers, but they’re all I think about now.
Apparently, in Victorian England, flowers were used to send secret messages. The type, color, and even the way they were arranged would change the meaning of what the person was trying to say. Usually, though, only the upper class was bothered to communicate in such a capital-R Romantic way. I mean, they wrote entire dictionaries filled with flowers and their possible meanings. Who even came up with this stuff, anyway?
The problem is, those blushing Brits forgot to include all the important ones. She favored the wildflowers and the weeds. She’d leave those ones especially for me to find. They’d be hiding under the doormat with the keys to our apartment, or under my half-drunk glass of lemonade on the window sill. The little purple ones that grow on the side of the road were my favorite, and she knew it.
But those stupid Victorians can’t tell me what that means. Every color and size and shape of a rose has a different message, but a queen anne’s lace is worthless.
I’ll never know what the flowers meant to her. I’ll never know what she was trying to tell me, if she was even trying to say anything at all. I still find them tucked away in forgotten corners of our home, the petals faded and cracked, but still attached to their thin little stems. Sometimes I just let them be, but other times I’ll set them out on the counter and stare at them for a while. They still smell so strongly, it’s as if she’s still here.