A Pleasure To

Erinrose Mager

The bloom there, an orchid. And the bloom alongside the first, a peony. Neither species is native to this region, by which I mean they’ve traveled. Here we are, in the boutique. It sells both terraria and their mosses. The rain has ceased, but we linger because anyone, half out the door, often requires a little gift for a person of tertiary importance. This time, for the coworker with the hellish life: all death too soon and house disasters. I consider a pear-shaped candle that smells like petroleum. I suppose I could present it nestled within an apple-shaped box for minor laughs. The punchline will be a bite I take from the wax. I won’t, but I’ll narrate the thought. We pass a greeting card back and forth. Its interior expresses congratulations—what a cruelty—and so I choose blank card stock instead, desert roses down the length of the envelope flap. Dear heart, I write, and we sign the bottom. We buy two candles, both pears, one for the bathroom. I shake out the umbrella, consider a googly plant whose will to thrive appears day-to-day. We laugh for real. Something about a trip to check on a changing vista. It’s a pleasure to stand here amidst superfluous crystals, together, as conspirators divining another’s unknown sorrows. I’m sorry for the blithe unconcern derived from my own hopeful love. We swing our purchases from paper handles, plenty more to do. I admit I take comfort where I can, especially now—though perhaps indefinitely—and so later, if another unspeakable aspect of human chaos befalls us, I’ll own happy shame in past movements through a building, a minor book, a soup made unhurriedly and with few ingredients. From here, we walk somewhere else.