Geordan had always thought of himself as a big picture guy. A man with vision. A man who got things done and kept the wheels moving. He didn’t have time to worry about what the individual cogs and bearings were up to. He just had to trust that they were all functioning and doing what they needed to do. The details were up to Alex, and Geordan just trusted that they were taken care of.
But when the separation came, the cogs started to crack, and the bearings rolled out and underfoot. Geordan fell on his ass more than a few times. Reality was that he either needed Alex to return or he had to learn to manage the details for himself. The irony was that in order to make the first happen, he would have to prove he could do the second.
And so, he set out on his current mission.
A delicate tinkle announced his arrival at the florist. The place smelled overwhelmingly of flowers, but what kind Geordan couldn’t begin to guess. Breathing in, he identified the scent of roses, only because Alex loved roses.
Geordan approached the florist who was working on a colorful arrangement, leaves and bits of baby’s breath scattered across the counter.
Blue gloves covered the woman’s hands as she wrapped a silver ribbon around the stems standing at attention in a squat vase. “Morning, sir! Just give me one sec and I’ll be right with you.” She dragged out the O in one, and her voice had a nasal yet singsongy quality to it. She finished and pulled off her gloves as she approached Geordan. “What can I do for you today?”
“I need, uh…” Geordan scanned the refrigerator behind the woman. “Roses. A dozen, I guess?”
The woman turned toward the glass enclosure. “Any particular color? Or a mix?”
Geordan knew this. Alex hated red roses—too common. The two-toned ones had always been a point of fascination. “How about those pink ones? With the yellow in the middle?” Variegated was the word Alex used.
“Oh good choice! Those are beautiful!” The florist set to work wrapping up the dozen buds that Geordan individually selected.
“No baby’s breath, please,” Geordan said in a rush. “Allergies.” The details omitted could be just as important as the ones included. He chose not to explain that Alex wasn’t allergic but simply hated the stuff, calling the little white puffs, “clouds of despair.”
The florist asked Geordan if he had a preference for ribbon color, and he chose the yellow to match the cores of the flowers.
He could pay attention to the small stuff!
Feeling pleased with himself, Geordan dipped into the café next door to the florist. Now that rush hour was over, the line was unfortunately short, so he didn’t have much time to wade through what seemed like an infinite number of options. What was it that Alex always ordered…?
Geordan stepped up to the counter.
The young barista watched him with half lidded eyes and an arched eyebrow. “What can I get you?”
Alex glanced around at the few people sitting at the high tables, sipping their drinks while their heels hooked onto the rungs of their stools. He supposed he was a bit overdressed in his double breasted, pin-striped suit. Was he trying too hard? The issue had always been not appearing to try hard enough.
Maybe this was a mistake. How could some flowers and a coffee reverse three years of inadequate attention?
“Sir? Can I take your order?”
But a first step, an effort, had to be worth something. He couldn’t give up now. “Yeah, can I get a…” He had to get this right. “A, uh…soy…latte…macch…”
“Soy latte macchiato? What size?”
“Yes, that’s it. A double? And please use the dark chocolate—the one without any milk or sugar? With a sprinkle of cinnamon on top? Also, are you able to make those designs in the foam for a to-go order?”
The barista rolled his eyes. “Sure. Something specific?”
Geordan felt his face heat. But why should he be embarrassed? He’d likely never see this kid again. And this was his chance to show Alex that he could express his feelings. “Can you write ‘I miss you,’ but like fancy?”
The barista’s eyes flicked to the flowers in Geordan’s hand, and then miraculously, his face relaxed. “Sure thing, man. Name?”
“Geor… No, Alex. Put Alex on it, please.”
“You got it, man.”
A few minutes later, armed with the flowers and coffee, Geordan crossed the street to the park where Alex had agreed to meet. He chose the second bench next to the duck pond, because that was where he remembered kissing Alex for the first time on their third date. He might not remember every detail of every meal they’d ever shared, but he remembered the important things.
He came out of his reverie and looked up to see black pointy-toed boots, curve-hugging jeans, and a tan, V-neck sweater. And then Geordan saw that face—light brown skin with a splatter of freckles across the bridge of the nose. Big brown eyes behind chunky blue glasses. He knew every part of Alex’s face and was greeted with his favorite detail—a huge gap-toothed smile that always brought with it peace and hope. Joy. Geordan stood and held out the flowers and coffee.
Alex accepted them and sat. Sniffed the roses and laid them on the bench before opening the latte. A grin blossomed. “You remembered.”
“Down to the last detail.”