Finding roses at 5pm on a Monday in central London is not an easy feat. In fact, if it hadn’t been for my rumbling stomach and my intense need for Nandos seasoned chips on my way home, I would never have changed at Hammersmith station for the next tube. And in that, I would never have found the bunch of roses I needed for that night (nor would I have satiated my chip-desire, but that’s a lesser point, to be fair).
The boisterous (by English standards) young man selling me these fine specimens was altogether enchanted by the prospect that they were going to my boyfriend’s mum – in fact, we tied ribbon and rambled about how exciting it is to hear about the ways in which people spread love through flowers. As fascinating as I’m sure some of his stories were, I was in a rush – hence the last-minute flowers – and raced to the other side of Hammersmith for the tube.
By 7 the roses were sat in my lap as we were parked in his car, my fingers anxiously playing with the curve of the plastic wrap encircling them.
“So they’re coming down now,” he mumbled, stressed at the fact that we were undeniably late to the dinner, through neither of our faults. His sister and her boyfriend (funnily enough living in Hammersmith at the time – the location’s become our bookends, would you look at that!) had been running late from a uni camp in the countryside.
In a moment, the couple popped down the steps to the road, the boyfriend – a Spaniard, just like me – holding a dozen roses.
“Great minds think alike,” he noted as he ducked into the car, laughing slightly and smiling broadly. The car, affectionately known as Wolfgang, revved and we were on our way to the sibling’s home, hours late and anxious to meet the parents…