The woman wondered how it would be to live a life so carefree. She had to worry about everything- the rent, the bills, and her medical expenses. A girl sat on the park bench to write or maybe draw. Each day she came at eight in the morning and stayed until twelve. Then she would stand, pack her stuff and leave, humming to herself. She was young, lovely and confident.
The woman was sure that she was invisible to the girl. Random people waved and smiled at her, except the girl, until one evening.
"Can I talk to you?" A musical voice startled the woman. She looked up from the flowers she was arranging. It was the girl.
"Yes.." The woman murmured, her eyes curious. She never saw the girl during evenings.
"Umm… I am Sophie." She said, trying to smile.
The woman noticed Sophie was uncomfortable and gave her a warm smile. "I am Martha. Would you like to sit down?"
Sophie shook her head. Her hands were hooked in her belt, as though she could prevent them wanting to roam. She rocked on her heels and finally blurted. "Can I be your assistant?"
Martha was stunned. Whatever she thought, this was definitely not what she expected. "You want to work with me?" She asked her eyes wide.
Sophie nodded and waited. "But.. you are rich! I mean, why do you want to work in a tiny florist stall?" Martha asked and heard Sophie's sigh of resignation.
Martha was confused why a girl who was chauffer driven in the latest model Benz would want to work with her. But she also did not want to hurt the girl's feelings. And Sophie was definitely upset about something. "You can tell me, dear. I promise to keep your secrets."
Sophie laughed at herself. "There is no secret. Yes, I have the money or my father has, loads. I can have everything I want. But no one has time or affection for me. My parents want me to act like a robot and be perfect. My so-called friends want me to act like a tantrum queen. No one listens to what I want."
"Try me, Sophie," Martha said, her voice soft.
Sophie stared at Martha and realized she was right in approaching her. Here was a woman who could understand her. "You saw me sitting with a sketchbook. I draw and paint to escape reality. I want to cuddle your fresh flowers, bury my nose in the buds and weep. Do you know I am not even supposed to cry? Each day I see you smiling and laughing, standing among the pretty flowers. I want that for me as well. Is it too much to ask for?"
Martha looked at the girl who was less than twenty years old and realized how similar their lives were. Neither had a person they could talk to. They were two lonely souls looking for love and imagining that the other was happy and content.
She pulled Sophie onto a small bench and sat beside her. "Do you know I thought you were a spoilt brat? That you never cared enough to notice a poor florist like me?" She asked and smiled at the shocked look on Sophie's face.
"I thought you had no troubles in the world. I couldn't see how unhappy you eyes were. Yes, you can be my assistant. But I cannot pay you money; I don't have enough. But I will teach you all I know about flowers." Martha said offering her hand.
"You will be my friend, a real friend?" Sophie asked wiping her tears. Martha nodded as Sophie held her hand between her soft palms.
"Yeah!!! Can I start from now?" Sophie asked and leaped towards the flowers, not waiting for an answer. She was dying to take the tender blooms in her hands.
Martha laughed at her eagerness. "Have you not touched the flowers before?"
"Oh yes, I did! I buy dozens of flowers, but none are as lovely. Your flowers are the best, they are magical." She replied twirling, a bunch of flowers in her arms. "And this is for you."
Martha looked at the paintings of her stall and whispered, "True, flowers are indeed magical."