Two rapid knocks on the door interrupted Ms. Morris’ morning tea and newspaper reading. She looked at the antique clock that hung on the wall and nodded with a smile. It was time.
She stood up and walked over to the door. The delivery driver that waited on the other side of the door grinned and nodded as she opened the door.
“Good morning, Ms. Morris,” he said. “It’s that time again. The annual delivery.”
“Hello, Harris. So it is, so it is. It is so very nice to see you again. Go ahead, bring it into the kitchen, if you don’t mind.”
“Of course.” Harris walked into the kitchen and placed a large bouquet of flowers on the table and handed her the card.
Ms. Morris opened the card and smiled as she read it. She then looked up at Harris. “I do wish I could have met him,” she said. “He must have been such a wonderful man.”
Harris nodded. “He was something special, you’re right. Pre-paying for birthday flowers thirty years in advance qualifies. It’s a shame the wife never got a chance to enjoy them.”
“Yes, the poor woman. I heard she died not long after him. I have always wondered if she even knew about this arrangement with the flowers. Of course, I’m grateful. I never imagined that flowers every year was included when I purchased this house at auction.”
“I suppose we’ll never know, Ms. Morris.” Harris hesitated for a moment and looked down on his hands. He swallowed and looked back up at her.
“Everything alright?” Ms. Harris said.
“Yes, sorry, of course.” Harris gestured towards the door. “I hope you’ll enjoy the flowers. I ought to be going. Other deliveries, you know.”
“Right, of course. Thank you again, Harris, for always making the delivery in person. I am blessed that I can enjoy the kindness of two good men.”
“My pleasure, as always. I’ll see you next year then.”
As the door closed behind him, Harris paused for a moment and looked back up at the house. He sighed. He had frozen again, unable to speak the words he so yearned to utter. He shook his head as he walked down the steps to his van. For the last twenty-five years, he had been buying the flowers for her himself. He had yet to have the courage to tell her that.
“Next year, there’s always next year,” he said to himself as he put the van in gear and headed back to his flower shop. When his van rounded the corner at the next cross street, Ms. Harris let the curtain slide back into place. She picked up a framed photo and walked over to the flowers. She gently touched each of the roses in the bouquet as a tear rolled down her cheek. “These are for you, sissy,” she said to the photo in her other hand, taken of her and her sister so many years ago.