At our playdate, Bethany told me that she’s living like a millionaire, in all the ways that matter. She pointed to a vase of lilacs on her mantel, cut from her own yard. “That’s a $70 bouquet right there.” A group of tulips in a jar. “$30.” Poppies snaking around each other. “$25.” A cluster of delicate lily-of-the-valley. “$20.”

I looked around the room, doing my own mental math. She easily had $200 worth of flowers in that room. “This is how the wealthy live,” she informed me. I loved that it was not the armies of servants or the fleet of chauffeured cars that separated us from the 1%, but the abundance of flowers.

This was going to be a story about how I came home, contemplated my own lilac bush, got out the clippers, and spun flowers into gold. It was going to be about Silas gathering the blossoms in a spackle bucket, helping me pull the leaves off of them, smashing the bottoms with a hammer, and arranging them carefully in a vase. It was going to be about relaxing on the couch while admiring the $70 bouquet on my mantle.

Instead, it is about the heartbreak of living with someone whose seasonal allergies reject my attempts at civilization. “The burning in my nose smells like lilac,” JC said.

We had to find another location for that beautiful profusion of blossoms.

At least we can still see them from inside.

At least the lily of the valley haven’t started bothering him…yet.

Lilies of the valley in a cup that belonged to my grandfather when he was small.


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