i like weddings; i hate funerals. as a florist however, i much preferred the latter; perhaps the absence makes room for greater creativity, perhaps there’s just less expectations or more perspective.

it was dark already. i could hear the sharp clipping sound arrhythmically accelerating as we were cutting ‘green’ from a farm garden of a client a bit out of town. she had acres of garden and had recently lost her husband; i often imagined we would come across his grave somewhere in that beautiful valley. she offered for us to cut there in exchange for weekly flower arrangements for her house. it was a relief, there was always a poor choice of greenery on the market and here was an all-you-can-eat choice of crab apple, camelia, viburnum, magnolia, agave.

before that, i had to do a kind of drive-by-borrowing from gardens around the neighbourhood. the fear of urban crime increased and my choices diminished as fences and barbed wire sprouted where luscious shrubs once were; i kept searching for new pruning grounds: near the university sports grounds there were some dense underbrush, naturally i thought no one would notice, i could be careful (the kind of careful which only comes with the ignorance of youth); the university security patrols were called ‘kampus beheer’, but i wasn’t too bothered, they were generally only over eager student volunteers with something to prove, besides, the light was getting low enough not to be noticed. i could still just make out the thicker branches of a quince, and was aiming for its virile quivering tips when i suddenly felt his cool hands on my skin.

the funeral is on saturday’; she whispered from somewhere between a filagree of white lace and golden hair; a serious, bitter voice. she put the cold stone urns on the table, her long marbled hands looked as though they were broken-off parts of them. as is customary i suggested purple and white but she flinched and replied in a cruel tone, ‘no flowers.’