The four-dozen roses bought from the expensive on-line purveyor arrived promptly on Thursday, February 4 as promised. They were quickly extracted with their sweet attar from the protective packaging and ice packs; there was a small amount of extra greenery; the red roses came with Baby’s Breath and the pink with something prettier I couldn’t identify.

The stems were cut three or four inches or more and leaves removed to slow the change of clear water to green scum. Packets of preservative were stirred into the warm water then poured into the mismatched vases. Three single red flowers posed in bud vases; mixed bouquets filled the tallest containers; pink roses and the nameless filler created a dramatic centerpiece.

My Dear One felt there weren’t enough flowers, even when bracketed with cactus gardens, miscellaneous potted plants and phalaenopsis orchids; so on Friday we went to the Big Box Store and swooped up another four dozen roses at a much more affordable price. The reds were striped crimson and burgundy; the pinks, rose and rosy red. The stems were smooth, no thorns. The fragrance? Well, there is only so much money can buy.

Once home, all these flowers were pruned and arranged with the same care I had lavished on the more costly blooms. A few implemented the existing bouquets; most graced new vases. They looked fresh and beautiful.

There could have been no more beautiful backdrop for our vows that finally were spoken on February 7. In the first days of our marriage, the flowers opened wide in that sexy, blowsy way, at least the expensive ones did, rather in keeping with the bride. The Big Box buds began to droop. After a week or so, it was clear that most had died and their corpses went into the trash.

Today I cleared the rest away. The pricey posies survived the bargain blooms; pink petals remained soft and sweet after red ones withered.

Except for one red rose in a bud vase. There is life in it yet.