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  • jtbelangela

Black Roses

It’s finally arrived … my favorite holiday in the universe. Christmas is lovely and I adore Thanksgiving, but there’s nothing like Valentine’s Day to this girl. Even before I started on the road to writing, I’ve been an over-the-top romantic—it’s who I am, and I make no apologies for it. I was walking through Trader Joe’s this morning fawning over the beautiful floral arrangements, and it brought back a special February 14th memory.

In my pre-married days, despite endless searching for that one epic romance, it always seemed to evade me. For some strange reason, my relationships always seemed to fizzle out just before Valentine’s Day and I’d end up spending that day alone. My best friend hated the way being single on the day devoted to romance would turn me inside-out. I dreaded going to work on Valentine’s Day. I tried my best to ignore my lucky co-workers who’d be called to the reception desk one at a time to collect their roses and chocolates, teddy bears and assorted love tokens, but I was heartbroken. One year I got a huge surprise when the receptionist called to say I had a delivery. At first I thought it was a mistake, or worse, a joke--but it wasn’t. Waiting for me out at reception was a beautiful bouquet of black roses nestled among snowy bunches of baby’s breath and glossy lemon leaves in a sparkling crystal vase.

At first, I thought it was a little odd. I’m no botanist, but when did roses starting coming in black? The flowers were cool as hell, and whoever sent them paid great homage to my rock-mod-chic New York style. I ignored the sideways glances from the other girls as I proudly carried my most unusual gift back to my desk. I held my breath and opened the card. It was from my best friend and it read, "Don't give up, he's out there.” I was touched not only by her kindness, but her creativity. Back then before all kinds of hybrids and fancy arrangements were readily available, in order to obtain fresh black roses, my crazy-wonderful friend paid a king’s ransom to a local florist, who carefully spray painted them. They were beautiful.

There were a few more bouquets of black roses in my future until they were replaced with the more traditional kind sent to me by the man who gave me my happily ever after. Even after all these years, I’m still moved thinking about the lengths that my friend went through to make a difficult day easier for me. There I was so torn up about my single status that I had forgotten to be grateful for the other things in my life that I did have, like a nutty devoted bestie who was there for me when those flash-in-the-pan relationships were over and done.

Yes, I love Valentine’s Day, and yes, I’m addicted to romance and will be until my last breath. Love is wonderful in its intoxicating all-consuming, hormonal-filled merry-go-round ride. It’s sweet to receive a red and pink frilly bouquet of flowers from someone who makes your heart do cartwheels, but it’s also nice to be lucky enough to receive black roses.

Wishing you a bouquet of black roses of your very own.