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Assisi & Brannan #9: Flora’s

Mar 25, 2014

Going to a florist turns me into a spendthrift. It’s the same reason why they tell you not to go grocery shopping when you are hungry. You end up buying more than you want, but I had a good reason. I was at Flora’s shopping for a bouquet to send my mother for her birthday. My mother has everything she needs and being self-sufficient gets what she doesn’t have. A floral arrangement is about the only thing I can please her with. Flora’s, next to Sam’s shop, has a great mix of common and exotic flowers: Tiger lilies, roses, tuberose and jasmine. The flowers I love are fragrant. I feel I’m in Hawaii or the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island.

“You can deliver to Tsimshatsui?” I asked. Hong Kong Island was a long way from the South of Market.

“We deliver anywhere. You want to send to Madagascar? It’ll cost you but it will be there.” Armaan Calhoun was the owner of Flora’s. He didn’t even blink at my question.

There was service in there somewhere but it was buried under layers of wry humor. He was like a stand-up comic sans the humor.

“Okay I’ll take this one.” I pointed to a red arrangement with gladioli, roses, dendrobium orchids and tiger lilies.

“Are you sure the flowers will get there in time?”

“Yes, they will. Not these flowers, of course. It’s like hundi. You order here we fulfill there.”

“What’s hundi?” I had never heard of it.

“Hundi is an ancient money transfer system in India. If you need to send money you pay in one city and the money is paid where you want it to go.”

Armaan was as usual brimming with esoteric tidbits.

“But these are flowers…”

He waved me away.

I paid and went to see Sam.

He was staring at his computer either trading or watching a video. He raised his eyebrow which meant he had seen me.

“Hi, Sam.”

“Hey, thanks for driving these guys. I owe you. They are visiting for a conference and need to be dropped off and picked up in two hours. In and out.”

I took the keys from him.

“Here’s Joe’s number. I told him you would call.”


He turned back to his laptop. “Ok, what are you thinking?”

“I don’t know yet. It’s something her husband said, ‘She’s not missing. She’s gone.’ Why would he say that?”

He stared at me. “It’s hard for people to let go.”

Angela came in to get his signature on a form. They leaned in to work. It didn’t bother me, but I didn’t like it.

I went to change into my uniform and slammed the bathroom door hard.

It occurred to me that Sam and I had never hung out together. I was always rushing off to BAR and he always had stuff to do at SOMA Car and Limo. All I know of him is he lives in Pacific Heights and drives a Beemer.

© Jocelyn Uma 2014. All Rights Reserved.