“Thank you. Have a nice day,” Jodie says and brushes her hands on her apron to get the dirt off.

The customer nods politely and takes his newly acquired fern out of the shop with him. Jodie leans on the counter with her head cradled in her hands and smiles after him because he seems so tickled to have bought a plant. He was older, maybe sixty, and she wonders if it is a plant for him or if he bought it for his wife—mostly because she wants to believe it is a gift. And she wants to believe that they are an old married couple and that the gift has no occasion, no anniversary or birthday—he just bought it for her.

Ron Jameson taps Jodie on the shoulder and she comes out of her daydream in front of the cash register.

“Okay,” he says. “I’m getting out of your hair.”

Jodie is relieved but smiles. “That’s okay.”

“Honestly, I just feel like I’m in your way when I’m here.”

“Oh, you’re not,” she pats him on the shoulder.

Jameson laughs. He preferred to just use the shop as a place to dicker around—someplace other than his house. He was glad to have Jodie running things, even though he knew he irritated her with his constant futzing and he really was just trying to help or at least not feel useless. The two of them did what they could to accommodate each other. “Well, at any rate, I’m leaving.”


“You’re all right?” Then, he feels stupid for asking.

“I’m fine. Git.” She giggles and gives him a light push on the shoulder.

“All righty. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Have a nice day.” Jodie smiles as Jameson leaves through the back door because she is halfway tempted to tell him that customers aren’t supposed to use that door, or something like that.

She spruces the stock a bit, waiting for the next customer. Despite the weather, a number of people had been in and out. Then again, maybe it was the weather making people want a little bit of color. Glancing out the shop window to the street, she looks at how gray everything is. At least the temperature was nice. It had stayed around sixty-five all day. Looking to the phone, Jodie has the sudden urge to call Allen now since Jameson is gone. She wants to tell him that everything is okay and that she was just upset and was missing him. He could be so nonchalant, like it didn’t matter if he was coming down for the weekend. She’d told him not to come, hadn’t she? But whatever. When he got here he could “help” her in the stock room. Jodie stares at the hot pink azaleas as she smiles.