roses from eileen

Does it count when something amazing just happens, rather than me organising it?

I think this counts.

In all my forty years I have never received a dozen roses. One romantic boyfriend often sent me a  single yellow rose on special occasions. Once, years after we split up, a single yellow rose was delivered to me at work. No card, nothing. I knew who had sent it and why.

But a dozen? Never.

So when I was called to reception at work one day last week, I had no idea who could possibly have sent this enormous box from Roses Only. I stood looking at the unopened box, with our receptionist grilling me: Is it your birthday? Anniversary? Do you have a secret admirer?

Inside the box was a dozen red, pink and peach coloured roses, a little bag of rose pot pourri, a bottle of rose oil and a box of Lindt chocolates. The card read:

“…You’re the best friend a girl could ask for. Much love, Nelli.”


Nelli (aka Eileen Geraghty or Eileen Kershaw) is one of my oldest friends. We were in the same year at school, but not the same class until secondary school. We became best friends then, aged eleven, and were pretty much inseparable all the way through our teenage years. We were even in the Sea Scouts together.

When I moved to England in the late 80s we remained friends although we didn’t see much of each other, and there were no cheap phone calls or email to help us out. But our friendship survived. I was bridesmaid at her wedding to Kelvin in 1991, and she moved to Australia shortly afterwards. She lives in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, about 20km from us.


It’s been great reestablishing our friendship since Orlando and I moved here in 2005. We see each other regularly, for dinner or breakfast, or going to Bollywood dancing class, or going out with Orlando and Kelvin. We went to a day spa together a few weeks ago and spent the day lounging in the sun gossiping. We speak to each other almost every day about nothing. It’s great.


But what possessed her to send me a dozen roses? What triggered the idea? I had no clue. Yes, we had sat together at dinner on St. Patrick’s Day but I didn’t remember any deep and meaningful friendship conversations (but there was all that green bubbly consumed on my part so could I be sure?). I called her. “No reason”, she said. Apparently she just woke up on Sunday morning and decided I deserved flowers.


Now, I’m not sure what that says about me, but the best friend a girl could ask for? That would be Nelli.


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