239. The happy dahlia
© Bruce Goodman 6 June 2014

Graham liked to garden. Mainly flowers. He didn’t have a very big garden. Just enough to make things pretty. In fact, they were nearly all dahlias. He had a special dahlia. It was sort of orange-peach. It made him feel happy. He called it his “happy dahlia”.

Graham was secretly in love with Barbara. He never told her, because she was already married. He had met Barbara at work. She was a sales representative.

One day, Barbara was talking to Graham and needed some papers. Graham told her that they were at his house – which they were. “Call in and pick them up,” said Graham.

When Barbara called in she saw the dahlia. “Look at that dahlia!” she said. “It is such a happy dahlia! Could you give me a tuber of it in the autumn?”

Come autumn, Graham remembered, and gave Barbara a tuber of the happy dahlia.

The next spring, all of Graham’s dahlias had rotted in the ground over winter.

“Would it be possible to have a tuber of the happy dahlia?” Graham asked of Barbara.

She gave him a tuber. Graham planted it. That afternoon, a tractor on the road ran into Barbara’s car and Barbara was killed.

For the years after, Graham could never look at the flowers of his happy dahlia without feeling sad.

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