The love of my life always had a way of surprising me.
I gifted him the chocolate-colored oak cane on his 81st birthday. It matched his warm,
almond brown eyes. His gentle hands caressed the polished wood as he began to chuckle.
“How old do you think I am?” he said with a sly smile.
It was about time that he had some proper support since he entered retirement.
Personally, I felt unready to retire. I worked at a florist shop just two blocks away. I loved to be
there as it reminded me of home, of Ma’s garden in Georgia, and her beautiful yellow daffodils.
Daffodils brought a joy that only he could bring otherwise.
“You are my divine daffodil,” he would say.
“And you are my pretty petunia,” I would reply, followed by his raspy laugh. Oh, how I
loved his aged laugh.
Although he tried to hide it, he found his time in our little condo quite boring. He spent
his days teaching our young yellow canary to play fetch with a single slim twig and listened to
his sweet songs until the afternoon. I could always hear the canary’s songs as I walked up the
stairs to come home.
Over time he found something else to do while I was away. Every day he sat on the
third-floor balcony of our condo and enjoyed the midday breeze as he waited for me to come
home. I remember when the first parchment plane landed in my path. I admired the plane and
smiled. If there is one thing he learned in his time in the Air Force when he was young, it is how
to make the perfect parchment plane. I opened the plane to find the words “I missed you,” inside,
along with a small twig; the same small twig he uses to play fetch with the canary. I was
apparently his next project, and I was to learn fetch at the age of 75. This happened every day for
months. He was happy, and so was I.
“What will we do when I retire?” I asked, “Throw parchment planes from the coat closet
to the sofa?” As I chuckled at my conception, he only sat there and smiled as if he knew
something I did not.
On a regular Tuesday, there was no parchment plane at my feet. I glanced up and saw his
oak cane hooked to the railing. I wondered if the plane had gone off course and he was
scrambling to make another. While unlocking our door, I realized I couldn’t hear any sweet
songs from our yellow canary, but something else caught my attention. The parchment plane was
sitting on the dining table with his pencil still beside it. Inside were the words, “You will always
be my divine daffodil.” I looked over my shoulder with a smile to see him sitting on the balcony
by his oak cane. He must have fallen asleep. And yet, he surprised me once again.
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