An iris in the park
I ran into Jessica this weekend, at the City Park Arts Festival, where my band headlined the last leg of its reunion tourÃ?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½
I was 16 years old, and quite the romantic neophyte.
She was 15 and had a pair of green eyes that made me stammer whenever I talked to her. She was good friends with Brandon’s girlfriend, and so we spent a lot of time together then. She lived in Park hill, and her mother ran a day care business out of their house, as I remember it.
I developed quite a crush on her after a while.
Thomas and I had just become very close, so he was around then quite a bit, as well. He was also romantically a few years ahead of me, and had a bit more expendable income at the time.
Jessica’s birthday. I had decided to announce my intentions then. I bought her a cassette tape, the band I can’t remember. I also bought her a beautiful bouquet of flowers, with tiger lilies and baby’s breath and daises and pale pink carnations. I remember being very proud of picking out the same colors I had seen in her room.
Brandon picked us me up for school, and we headed to Park Hill. I think it was spring, and Monaco Parkway was as green as her eyes were. I stowed the flowers behind his spare tire in his truck bed, where I sat after he picked up his girlfriend. We were at Jessica’s a few moments later.
She came to the car breathless. She was beside herself with excitement. I reached for the flowers and wrapped my hand around the wet stems. A thorn poked the inside of my palm. I could feel the outline of the cassette tape in my pocket pressed against my thigh. My heart was pounding like a jackhammer, and I think my ears were ringing. My neck was hot, and I could feel the blush creep up my ears. As I pulled the flowers from behind the spare tire, she spoke.
“Guess what Thomas did last night!?” She fairly shouted at the three of us. “Last night, he had my mom let him in the house, and he filled my entire room with red roses!”
“And the best part was, He covered my bed in roses, and then laid a single white rose in the center with a note that said, Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½You’re one a million!’ I found it after I got home!”
Suddenly, my beautiful bouquet of flowers turned into ragweed and dandelions. The cassette in my pocket mocked me mercilessly.
“Are those for me?” she asked sweetly. It was too late to ditch them, she saw them already.
“Um, yeah. I meanÃ?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½ yeah. They are. I uh, got you this tape, too.” She smiled and accepted the gifts graciously, commenting on how lucky she was to have such thoughtful friends. I smiled sheepishly back at her and mumbled something about the band who’s music she was holding, but she was already back on the subject of Thomas and how amazing he was. I never did confess my crush, and by the grace of youthful distraction, I was over it in a matter of days. And time went on, and our group drifted apart in high school, and by the time I graduated, it was nothing more than a distant memory.
She hasn’t changed a whit from the way I remember her, when I last saw her 10 years ago. She’s a massage therapist now, and her eyes are still green.
And as my wife and I walked out of the park, all I could think was how happy I was that her favorite flower is the iris.