Suddenly, I'm smitten with flowers

Apparently I love flowers. I am not the overly romantic type. Or the gardening type, or the hippie type. It was always my crunchy-granola friends who waxed rhapsodic about filling their rooms with lilies and volunteered to work on organic farms where they could collect bouquets of daffodils in return. My Hawaiian friend wore a pink or purple flower behind her ear. My California friend put gerber daisies in flutelike vases on her desk. I, a Marylander, consigned myself to a stolid indifference to flowers; they weren't my thing. Besides, they were too expensive. I've always been one for pinching a penny.

But just last week I was walking by the local flower shop and a sign caught my eye: $5 for a dozen red roses. It would have been criminal to pass up that kind of deal, whether or not you're a devoted flower lover. Red roses are beautiful, $5 is affordable, and my tiny cell-like room with its drab brown carpet and ominous stack of books yet to be studied for upcoming exams had been depressing me all week. So of course I bought them. I felt rather foolish, making such a romantic gesture to myself, but I figured they'd look nice on the windowsill. Nice, I thought. Pretty.

Little did I know I was completely wrong. Little did I know - I love flowers!

They are not "nice"; they are amazing. They are not "pretty"; they are voluptuous, delicate, velvety, radiant, and astonishingly alive. They have been (and this is probably mostly a product of my lonely, book-filled existence) my joyful companions for the past week. I've watched them shyly unfurl and swell into wide, red blooms, as if opening up to me. I've sat beside them in my armchair, inspecting their secret, swirled centers between paragraphs in my endless books, admiring the contrast of their scarlet heads and their thin green necks. They are like silent, secret lovers; kissing me every time I look at them. I am completely smitten by my 12 red roses.

Alas, three have wilted, their once-plump petals drooping thin and cold like wet hair. I nervously watch the remaining nine, clucking like a mother hen as I refresh their water and grouping them more tightly together for moral support.

My little room isn't ready to return to its barren, bare-windowsilled asceticism. I need to know that I can turn my head from the computer and see the light from the window washing delicate shadows into the smooth interstices of rose blossoms. I need them there to greet me when I come in late at night, their big red heads nodding as if saying hello.

I never thought I'd admit it, but I have come to love flowers. My first dozen roses have taken me completely by surprise.

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