I didn’t let her enter the house. I relieved her of the flowers but I insisted that she explain her timing before I let her in. I pretended to be vexed with her for coming late. She pretended to be embarrassed. I was thrilled. But I continued giving her a hard time for a while. At the threshold of the house. She apologized sheepishly. As you would to a school principal. And I welcomed her home with a flourish.
A week later she admitted to the mother how elated she was. How wanted and special she had felt, in those few moments. That the celebrations had felt incomplete without her.
Only she didn’t know the truth. Perhaps, I didn’t either.
What I do know is that it was a spontaneous outpouring of affection. The heart was overwhelmed with tears and her presence gave me a reason to smile. She didn’t know whom I was comforting more.