The orchid arrived without a card. Like the proverbial pair of socks, where two go in the washer and one comes out — the card came up missing when Amy gathered the plant for delivery.
So what I know is that the orchid was given to me by Amy’s mother Barbara — that it came while I was out furniture shopping with my aunt and sister — and that my husband, who accepted the gift on my behalf, did not think it important to ask for reasons why.
No mystery here. He never asks. Nor does he speculate. This man I married, who in all ways but this lives in the “real’ world rather than a fairy-tale world of make-believe, prefers to think people will tell him all he needs to know about matters of a personal nature — in spite of an entire married life of evidence to the contrary.Ginny had a baby. Boy or Girl? Forgot to ask. . Mike’s getting married. Where are they registered? Don’t know. I’ll ask. .
Sometimes, as it happens, the generic, ‘just-right-for-all-occasions’ gift becomes a perfect gift to give. And sometimes, the perfect gift becomes what the recipient would never buy for herself — a lovely white orchid, eight blooms long — that is not only beautiful, but that has inspired me to expand my gardening knowledge in a way unforeseen. How much light? How much water, and so on? For days now, like a Goldilocks of indoor gardening, I’ve searched for the perfect spot for my new orchid to call home.
The den was good since it was in a highly visible space; too bad the light was weak. It sat on the kitchen counter for an afternoon, before I worried that the cabinet doors would lop off its blooming head. The utility room? Too hidden. My husband’s office — too full. The dining room? Too dark. Living room? Too hot. After days of looking, the ‘just-right’ spot ended on top of a nightstand that offered an abundance of soft light — and as living within mystery so perfectly happens — the nightstand belongs to the person who has no need to ask for reasons why.
I’ve come to appreciate how a lack of curiosity — that once would have bothered me to no end — has proved to expand a single gift to become many. Was it a Christmas gift? Why yes, I did receive the orchid during the season of Christmas. Was it a sympathy flower, a way of expressing sorrow at the loss of my mother-in-law — why yes, this too makes perfect sense. Was Barbara’s gift a way of expressing thanks, for the few tasks my husband and I took on related to the wedding reception? Well, yes — why not. All these answers hold merit. Yet, after days of seeking, I’ve settled on a reason less likely but more generic — one that covers Christmas to sympathy to thanks: that of friendship – and that I received the gift of a white orchid at all — becomes answer enough.
But what of that other pair of questions tossing around in the laundry, like — Will Amy ever find the missing card? — And will my husband ever ask why the orchid has come to live on his nightstand? — to these I offer a single answer: I hope not.