Monday, November 13, 2006

"Oh yes! Yes! These really are the best.
By far the very best you've ever brought me.
Look...oh, just look at them!"
He did, as she picked them up
and held them to her chest so tightly
he thought she would surely crush them.
"Oh,," she purred,
"Yes, I've had them before
but none so beautiful as these!

Absolutely none."
So extreme of her, he thought,
such emotions she possessed.
"I'll put them here...just here,"
and she glides across the room
to the mantle of a long disused fireplace.
Down from it she pulls an oval shaped vase
which she brandishes like and old lost trophy.
"Why that one?" he asks of her,
"What of this one over here. It's obviously much..."
"No. Of course not," she frowns,
"They must go here, you see.
All of my flowers...well...
they just have to go here."
She begins to place the flowers into the vase
but then stops abruptly.
"Oh, water...I've forgotten the water."
Off she scurries to the kitchen,
flowers in one hand, vase in the other.

"Well, that makes no sense,"
he whispers to himself,
"Certainly no sense at all."
"Surely," he raises his voice to reach her,
"surely you've got a better vase than that one.
I know I've seen better."
That's not the point," comes the reply from the kitchen.
"Not the point?" he murmurs
with a quizzical tilt of the head.
He moves to the window
and looks down to the traffic below,
"Not the point?"

Shortly, she returns.
He looks back over his shoulder
to see her arranging the flowers,
then back to the street
and the tiny people below.
"They'll go bad you know.
They'll all go bad---
eventually all flowers go bad and die, so..."
"Of course they will," she interrupts matter-of-factly,
"That's not the idea."

He turns to look at her,
somewhat startled by the directness of her voice.
Still arranging the flowers, she continues,
"For the moment," she gestures downward,
"this moment of time,
we think only of the beauty they bring us.
We shut the rest out. No...
rather we place it to the back of our minds.
Perhaps it's the knowing..."
she pauses to glance towards the window,
"it's the knowing that, yes,
eventually they will go bad;
that they won't last.
That all their beauty is transient.
This is what makes them so beautiful;
so essential;
so requisite."
He turns back to the window
and the multitude below
rushing to the end of their day.
Behind him the familiar voice continues.

"Oh, these...
these have got to be the most beautiful I've ever,
ever, ever had."
There within the glass he sees his reflection.
Try as hard as he may
he can't suppress the smile
that's slowly forming there.

©86 Jack Hubbell (for R. Patterson-Zeck)

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