Friday, November 4, 2011

Because I Know What Flowers Look Like

"You must be Maggie," she said, tilting her head in Maggie's direction.  She put one hand on the railing for balance and held out the other one for Maggie to shake.  Blind, Maggie realized, and she shook the woman's hand carefully.  "I'm Corinne.  Come on in," she said, leading the way into a large Victorian house that already seemed scrupulously clean, and precisely organized.  In the entryway hall, there was a stark wooden bench to the right and a series of cubbyholes hanging above it and a pair of shoes in each cubbyhole.  A raincoat and a winter coat hung on adjoining hooks; an umbrella and hat and mittens were laid neatly on a shelf above them.  And next to the empty coat rack was a white cane.

"I don't think you'll find the work too difficult," said Corinne, taking careful birdlike sps from a cup of coffee in a lemon-yellow mug.  "The floors need to be swept and mopped," she began, ticking off the tasks on her fingers.  "I'd like you to organize the recycling, the glass and the paper in particular.  The laundry should be sorted, the dishwasher needs to be emptied, and . . ."

Maggie waited. "Yes?" she finally asked.

"Flowers," said Corinne, and tilted her chin up defiantly.  "I'd like you to buy some flowers."

"Okay," said Maggie.

"I'm sure you're wondering why I want them," said Corinne.

Maggie, who hadn't been wondering, said nothing.

"Because I can't see them," said Corinne.  "But I know what flowers look like.  And I can smell them, too."

~ Jennifer Weiner, 
In Her Shoes

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