Every morning, Roy leaves flowers for Anne. Sometimes violet, sometimes red, but mostly yellow because those were from the dandelions found in the spring patches of lawn peaking between thin crusts of snow. Anne is sixty-seven years blind, and she cares little for the color, can hardly remember most of them... but she likes the thought of a man doing such things for her, which is strange, because she can't touch the petals for fear of ruining the flower, and rarely can she decipher what it looks like at all. Roy likes to describe it with lush detail that compare her eyes to pollen, and sometimes this is enough to make her smile, because she does like the thought of a man doing such things for her.
She also likes to smell the fragrance and caress the tiny stem, twirling it with brittle fingers until the flower is wilted and Roy must pick her another. Every evening, he returns with a replacement, often the same kind because Roy has terrible memory and he sometimes forgets he'd already given her a flower in the first place. On occasion, Roy gives her two or three flowers, and sometimes he gives her none, but Anne loves him either way because Roy is sweetest when he's doing things for her, and she likes the thought of it. Even when Roy is doing nothing, he's doing it with her, at her side, holding her hand in the sweetest, gentlemanly way.
The nurses like to tell Anne that she is very lucky to have a man like this even when he forgets to bring her flowers, and Anne smiles and nods because she knows, and because she likes the thought of a man doing such things for her. Anne takes the flowers for granted, expecting them delivered to her hand every morning, and when Roy is late or when he forgets, she needs such reminders from the staff to keep her patience. The children have such dramatic flair for life, and she remembers clearly when days were filled with unneeded pain and woe, when love was a cold mistresses and life rarely seemed worth it without someone rubbing your back in earnest. Friends are always those that will kiss your ass, she thinks, and it's true because she hears more than the nursing station will ever realize, and she can see the hierarchy well enough in her mind. There is a pyramid of personalities clashing together, one tigress ruling over another, a few lone wolves sniffing for allies, vultures picking at the remains left behind. Every now and then she discovers a human being willing to walk to her own drummer, but that is especially rare in the dangerous plains of a nursing home, and when Roy forgets to bring her flowers, Anne likes to ponder about this, because it makes her feel young again.
But Roy nearly always brings her flowers, and the other residents like to coo and grumble about their candy-sweet romance. Most are jealous not to have a love such as this, to have lived and lost it, to have lived so long and never loved at all. Anne is glad her late husband is in hell, because Roy makes her special the way he never did, and she likes the thought of a man doing such things for her. It rarely came before she met him, her love life a set of tracks that led from one sour man after the other, some of them beaters, some alcoholics, some simply rotted to the core. She thinks quietly in her bed at night that she always did fall for the wrong sort, because even Roy forgets to bring her flowers, and this makes her sad at times.
Roy is sad when she is bedridden, and the nurses whisper far too loudly that Anne hasn't long now, which makes Roy worry and Anne ache to comfort him. Anne can see things, hear things, feel a cold that seeps right into her bones, and Roy holds her hand desperately, knowing but not knowing what is happening to her. Anne is not afraid, and she tells Roy that all is well, that she's happy for this. Roy brings her roses she can't see or touch, and Anne weeps at life's cruelty.
There is rainbow the last day Roy brings her flowers that he rests in the yellow grass before a stone that bears her name. She smiles at the rainbow and tells Roy that he loves her, but he doesn't hear it even though he knows it, and he walks away with a frown in his eyes. Days pass and Roy forgets her name, but she doesn't mind, because he still brings her flowers, and she likes the thought of a man doing such things for her. Until he stops coming, until he is unable to come, until he can hardly walk, and Roy is left drifting in a wheelchair before a television blaring gardening tips, telling Roy that he must purchase an aerator before all the dandelions, roses, violets and buttercups die, and he is left with no flowers to give his love, he doesn't recall her name. The nurses frown and whisper their rumors, and Anne watches them with loathing. Roy loses every shred of his dignity, and he doesn't bring her flowers.
Then comes the day that Roy is younger, healthier, his memory sharp as a tack. She doesn't question, only knows that he is there, and she leaps upon him with kisses and a strong embrace; he is more beautiful than she could ever imagine. He smiles and gives her a dandelion, tells her that he loves her. Anne takes the flower, and sees it for the first time in sixty-seven years. She inhales the fragrance, her skin tingling with euphoria. She thanks him. She likes the thought of a man doing such things for her.