When I think of marigolds, I think of growing seeds in styrofoam cups for elementary school experiments. I think of Monsoon Wedding, and Dubey, the character who is always eating them. I think of the play, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, which I remember as being the kind of sadness laced without beauty that you can’t get out of your head when you’re done reading it (I never saw it performed).
This week, we saw the owner of the marigolds, an Indian American woman, with a long braid and a lilting accent, out trimming them. When we told her how much we loved them, she said thank you, and then “I should give you some.”
I walked the rest of the way holding a bouquet of yellow and orange.
It made me think of being 18, and working at Walgreens. One night, a woman probably a few years older than me came through the line and ended up without enough money. I always had some in the pocket of my smock, so I told her not to worry, and simply paid the rest. I didn’t think much of it, but she came back an hour or two later with a bouquet of wildflowers, wrapped in a wet paper towel. “I’ve worked in retail,” she told me. “I know how hard it can be.”
I had to close that night, and didn’t get the flowers home before they wilted, but that wasn’t the point.