I'd seen them weeks before, and remembered them, suddenly, while going past. They had been out on display when we'd first seen them, but the store had just opened and nothing had yet been moved out into the street. The entrance was flat so, even though I saw that the interior of the store was stuffed with every imaginable thing, I headed in. When I'd first seen the flowers they were in a big box and there were dozens and dozens of them, now there was only four or five stalks. I couldn't get down to where they were, so Joe went down and picked out three different stalks. He brought them to me with a look of concern on his face.
"How are we going to get these home?"
"I'll carry them," I said cheerfully.
"But we've got lots to do before we get home."
"Yeah, that's cool, I'll carry them, not to worry."
"But ..." and I saw real concern on Joe's face.
"Listen, Joe," I said, "I know that people will stare at me carrying these, but they will stare at me anyway, might as well give them a reason to look."
So we bought the flowers. As you can see in the picture, they aren't real flowers at all. What they are are long stalks of brown wrapped wire with fabric flowers attached to them. There are red and pink and purple and white flowers. Together they made an impressive, and very tall, group. The stalks are between four and five feet tall.
After leaving the store, I carried them defiantly into the street. I looked like a float. I was a one man parade. A disabled laddie liberty. I wanted them because when I first saw them, I thought they'd look good in our other bedroom. The one the girls use when they come to stay. I thought it would pretty up the room. The flowers managed to have both girls favourite colours mixed in, so they'd know that we had thought of both their preferences in picking the stalks out. And, of course, I liked them.
A story of buying something that I knew was going to either increase or intensify the notice I got while travelling up and down the street, into coffee shops and out of stores. We did everything that we needed to do, me carrying these tall flowers along with me. I felt good when I got home.
I imagine that the girls will love this addition to what they see as their room. They haven't seen them yet but they will today, and I can't wait for their reaction. I wanted the flowers because I wanted to do something to surprise and delight two little kids that I adore. And that fact gave me all the courage I needed.
"Stare at me all you will," I thought as I left the store and we headed on our way, "I won't be cowed by your notice, your stare or your curiosity. I LIVE here, this is MY community, and I will BE here and DO here what ever I so CHOOSE."
I did get stared at more that I would have otherwise. The flowers, bright in the sun, tall in the shade, were excited to be liberated from a dusty cardboard box at the back of a store, so they called out - "Look, look, look, aren't we beautiful."
And I rode beneath them, hearing their confident shouts. And in my heart, I joined them. "Look, look, and see ... aren't we beautiful."