What should I get her for valentine’s, aunty?
The first thought that came to my mind is to smack the boy on the upside of his head for calling me aunty.
Then I told him to get a bouquet of pink roses, and a whatever something from Tiffany. A simple sterling silver pendant, I told him. Nothing fancy. It’s the turquoise box that matters, not what’s inside. I know the whatever something from Tiffany is a little too much for young love but I am at the A-level stage of this game, so my advice is also A-level. If you want something lesser, go ask someone else. Mine is the kind that ensures 100% success rate.
Why pink, he asks? What about calla lilies?
I laughed. I was the one who told him before that if he wants to buy a girl flowers, buy something unusual like calla lilies. But what I meant was not calla lilies exactly. What I meant was, he needs to get to know her and find out what she likes. Roses is like the all-purpose band aid. It’s the easy choice. Knowing the exact flower with the exact color, now that’s the challenge. For instance, I don’t do flowers, or pets, or plants or any kinds of gifts that require me to grow it, water it, feed it et cetera. Give me something shiny, then we’ll talk.
Anyway. I told him, if in doubt, choose pink. The pinkest roses you can find. It always works. The important thing is to make sure that she receives the flowers in front of her friends. The more public the better. Nothing that can make a young girl feel loved than having her affection flaunted in public. The jealousy that emanates from her friends is priceless. That’s what you live for. The flowers will be hung to dry, pressed in between heavy textbooks and then saved for posterity in self-adhesive photo albums. But the smug, self-satisfied feeling will stay for a very very long time. So really, the color or the kind of flowers doesn’t matter. Not when you are barely out of your teens anyway.
A few days passed.
It’s over aunty, he said. No valentines for me. We’re over.
I smiled. Aaah. Young love.