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But You Don't Like Flowers

The first time my out-of-town friend visited New York City, I dove into the (very quick) tour of my new apartment. I finished pointing out idiosyncrasies (the bathroom light will get brighter, just give it a second) and we ended up in the kitchen, waiting on a tea kettle whistle.

Do you normally have fresh flowers? my friend asked, gesturing toward the makeshift vase on our counter. Oh no, I explained that they were a new addition after my roommate brought them home from a work event the night prior.

They’re nice, she said, and I started to agree—the polite response in the situation. But before I could process my response she added, oh wait, but you don’t even like flowers.

In that moment, I could have cried.

I’ve known this friend since we were 17 and 18. We became super close in our late teens and early twenties and have remained friends despite having not lived near each other since 2015.

But she knew I didn’t like flowers.

It seems such a simple thing. And it is, really. I suppose it had just been a long time since I’d been around someone who knew I didn’t like flowers. Or maybe it had been a while since I allowed myself to be understood so sincerely.

Don’t underestimate what gentle reminders of home can mean for someone or how the things you remember about them might make them feel. Don’t take for granted the difference you can make by paying attention.

Perhaps I’ve been subconsciously pretending to like flowers. It can be easier that way. And, on the surface, there’s no harm to smiling and nodding about a bouquet.

Ah but what joy there is in being seen.

What ecstasy in being understood. What happiness in recognizing yourself in someone else’s memory. What peace in being true to yourself.


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