I was usually mistrusted in the education field. Too young. Too ditzy. Most parents didn’t trust me to educate their young adults. They didn’t believe I knew Shakespeare. Could quote it. Or that I held a hundred poems in my head, stories in my heart.
I like that I’m no longer second-guessed. In the flower shop, customers automatically believe I can make pretty things. They call and trust my soft and reassuring voice that I’ll deliver an arrangement to grandma that is special, lovely, fitting. And thousands of dollars in wedding flowers? Don’t worry about a thing, you gorgeous brides. I wonder when the secret will get out, the secret that I’m not-so-crafty. I’m not a natural. But then again, parts of teaching did not feel natural either. (Perhaps most of all the rules, the being in charge part). I’m not natural like my artistic sister. Or talented friends. Or my decorator mom.
My mom always had the radio on WFIW in the mornings while we ate breakfast before school. Every morning we heard an ad from Melissa, Your Friendly Florist at Your Downtown Flower Shop. I liked her. She sounded super and had a squeaky voice like mine. Enthusiastic. Almost too energetic, like she was on speed. But most of all she sounded familiar. Comforting. Like sausage links and peanut butter on my waffle. She started out my day on a high note.
“You’re a teacher,” they all say. “Damnit, why aren’t you teaching?” He asks. “Why do I have to remind you to check the Regional Office of Education website and force you to send out your résumé?”
Because there are no teaching jobs. Because I’m twenty-six and still look like I’m twelve. Because maybe I look more like a person who can make pretty things. Because they never choose me.
Because I’m Melissa, your friendly neighborhood florist, and I love it. And I’m thankful. And isn’t it ironic.