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Tiptoe through the orange tulips

The best part of Monday was eating my late lunch snack on a lonesome bench in the sunny cloisters next to the conservatory. I breathed in the fresh air as my eyes soaked in the colours of the flowers and plants. If I were confined in bed for weeks or months, I would long to be outdoors surrounded by nature.

With this in mind, I decided to buy the brightest flowers I could find. There was only one bouquet of bright orange tulips left at the station. To me, the colour orange symbolises vibrancy, health, and outrageousness. Holding those forty tulips made me feel like a young teenager about to impress upon an unsuspecting friend.

The walk seemed longer than I remembered. The previous time I had followed someone else on a bicycle. It was a stone's throw away from the train station. So why was I walking in circles? By the time I got to the hospital, my feet were aching in my leather boots. I had made a huge detour.

The first and last time I was here, I noticed other visitors taking out their flowers and putting them in vases. Dutch hospitals are well-equipped with special cabinets of empty flower vases. I had made a mental note then to bring flowers next time. That was almost two weeks ago.

I walked into the room quietly. He was thinner than before, but he seemed stronger. Oh! That glimmer of recognition and the joy in seeing my orange tulips made my visit worthwhile.

I sat down and told him that I thought he might enjoy seeing some bright flowers in his room. He smiled and told me that he was much better than before. I let him talk, and then gently told him to rest. I was happy to just sit there.

I told him about my terrible day at the conservatory, how I was butchered to pieces by my teacher, but how lucky I was to find empty rooms to practise the piano for four hours altogether.

When he got a bit thirsty, I helped him drink water. Seeing that he was getting tired, I told him I was leaving. He asked me what time it was, and I said it was six.

As I left, I noticed his son had just arrived at the end of the hallway. No, I didn't want to run into him. This was an unexpected visit. I just wanted to bring flowers to brighten someone's day.

I tiptoed to the room at the back and waited until the coast was clear. Aw! My aching feet! I could barely stand, let alone walk. My backpack seemed heavier than before. Crossing my fingers, I prayed that I could disappear unseen --- tiptoeing through the orange tulips.

11 May 2004 Tuesday

Related journal links:
First blossom of spring
Flowers for giving
Tiptoe through the tulips - WAV file
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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.
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