Stories From California

The Flower Lady, del Rey, L.A.

She stands there like a human statue for grace, strength, beauty and perseverance every weekend. Morning until dusk. Rain or sun. Heat or cold. Living and breathing, but not moving. Not when I wait for the light to change or drive by. Faded red visor, light jacket over a colorful skirt, pink crocs sandals, a bouquet of flowers in her hand and more bouquets in a basket next to her. White lilies mixed with bright red flowers. Always white lilies.  

Her spot is at the end of a freeway ramp. Exhaust fumes, speeding cars and customers in a hurry. I wonder when she eats and drinks. ...

... Where does she go when she needs to pee? Does she ever almost faint? Do her legs hurt? Does she get the flowers herself? Arrange them to festive bouquets in the morning or the night before? How much money does she make?

I make up stories about her life while I pass:

One day I am sure, somebody drops her off at dawn and picks her up in the evening. She has to give him a cut, and he will insulted her if she does not sell all her flowers. Another time, I think she insists on standing at the freeway. She likes the spot because she makes good money. She gets to keep it all, and is proud to support her family with this work. 

I passed her dozens of times. Never bought flowers. I don't like lilies. Their perfume makes me dizzy and sneeze. Sometimes I smile at her when I pass, and sometimes she smiles back. I have been thinking about bringing her water or tea, or offer her our bathroom in case she needs to pee. We only live one block away. I never did. 

I will stop next week end. Just to say hello and ask her how she is doing.

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