Look closely at that picture of a door above– see those daisies in the lower left corner? They are in a beer bottle and placed very intentionally outside a hotel room door. My husband and I happened across them very, very early this past weekend (i.e. before 5:30am), as we were leaving to check in for a race we were running. There’s a story there — right? How could there not be? Here’s my version:
He watched her pick at the corner of the label on her bottle and thought about teasing her about drinking cheap swill, but decided it might not be funny just then.
She took sip of the beer long gone warm and narrowed her eyes at him, “You let me order this?” She nodded her head toward the bottle, her nose crinkled in disgust.
He’d never had the slightest bit of influence over her decisions. Ever. But now didn’t seem the appropriate time to mention that, either. “You insisted it was the perfect night-cap,” he replied instead, then added “An hour ago.”
She groaned loudly and flopped her head down onto her crossed arms on the bar. “Worst night ever.”
“Can I get you two anything else?” the bartender asked, in the way that meant he would most definitely not be getting them anything else. “Water, perhaps?” Except that.
She lifted her head up, “I’ve got plenty of water, right here,” she said gesturing at the bottle in front of her “What I need is a bourbon.”
The bartender looked at him with a raised eyebrow and he shook his head to indicate there was no need to serve her any additional liquor. He filled two glasses with water and slid them in front of them before returning to his more lucrative patrons. The ones who hadn’t already had too much wine, bourbon, and bubbly before sitting down at his bar.
“Did I thank you for coming with me?” she asked.
She had. Several times. “I was already here for business. Perfect timing,” he deflected. He would have come no matter what.
“I shouldn’t have come. It’s ridiculous. Who goes to their ex-fiance’s wedding? Who? Seriously. Who carries on the charade of oh sure, we can totally be friends that long. I’m an idiot. He’s brilliantly happy and I’ve completely lost my mind. Also she’s gorgeous. And nice. Really genuinely nice. Like no flaws at all.”
“I’m sure she has some flaws,” he said, not without exasperation. It was at least the fifth time they had hashed this out.
“Name one,” she challenged.
“I don’t know. I just met her.”
“See. None. No flaws,” she said turning up the bottle and finishing the last of her hot beer and then wincing. “That’s terrible. I make terrible decisions. Terrible.”
“The beer was a terrible decision. But the coming here, the trying to stay friends with someone you…” he paused, struggling over the word, even completely out of the context he wished he was using it, “loved, that’s not a terrible decision. Just maybe a more awkward one than you thought it would be.”
She smiled just a little, “Understatement of the year.”
They were quiet. The bartender brought the tab, and she reached for her card. He shook his head and signed the charges to his room. She thanked him.
“Walk you home?” he teased. It was an old joke from when they lived on the same floor, freshman year in college that seemed equally appropriate in a hotel. She slid off the bar stool and looped her arm through his.
“Why can’t it just be easy?” She asked as they made the long, slow walk across the lobby to the elevators. “Why can’t I just find that person who is easy,” she said, then laughed at herself, “I don’t mean easy, like easy.… but like simple, you know?”
“Cause I’m easy, easy Like Sunday morning?” he sang, softly and entirely off-key.
“Yes!” she nearly screamed, as the elevator door opened. “Just like that.”
He held a finger up to his lips and her hands flew to her mouth and her eyes widened as if she was shocked to realize she was being loud.
He laughed and she punched his arm playfully. “It’s not funny,” she explained in an exaggerated whisper. “Anyway, I’m done with the big dramatic grand gestures. Like seriously, I know I bought in and waxed poetic about how sweet it was that he surprised her with the release of six dozen doves after the wedding, and a fireworks show that would make Disney drool as they left the reception, but seriously, what happened to just bringing someone flowers. Like a handful of daisies out of the yard or something.”
He shrugged, “Maybe doves are the new daisies.”
She laughed as they stopped by her door. “Thanks again for everything, the being here, the buying me bad beer. The listening to my drunken rants.”
He nodded and searched for the right words.
“Goodnight,” she said wrapping her arms around him in a giant hug, before he found them.
“Night,” he managed, adding a little wave as she closed the door. He pushed the button for the elevator and waited. And waited. When the door finally opened, he was greeted by a hotel employee with a service cart full of vases of daisies, “Sorry for the wait man, we’re cleaning up an event in the rooftop ballroom.”
His heart pounded. Daisies. A handful of daisies. He watched the floors tick by until he was nearly at his. It was now or not at all.
“Um, any chance that I could have some of those?” he said, his face reddening, and his voice cracking and squeaking as if he were thirteen again.
“Take as many flowers as you want, just not the vases. Flowers are just going in the trash,” the employee replied sounding bored and not at all as if his request were out of the ordinary.
“Great. Um, thanks really. Thank you,” he said grabbing the flowers from two small vases as the door opened for his floor.
He stood there with a fistful of flowers for a few seconds before pushing open the stairwell door and running up six flights of stairs to her room. And then he stood there again, in a different hallway with the same flowers. He thought about knocking, but she wasn’t sober. And this had to be bigger than one tipsy night together. His eyes darted around the hallway and landed on a beer bottle on a room service tray left in the hall. He pushed the flowers into the neck and set it carefully outside her door.
Easy. Like Sunday morning. He hoped.