I stared at the text message on my phone for a while, thinking, how indeed? My boyfriend and I had earlier made spur-of-the-moment plans for dinner. Now he finally made his presence felt shortly past midnight, when he called to say that he had forgotten and had let himself get dragged off by his mates to a boisterous going-away party. Throughout the night I had gone past annoyance when he didn’t pick me up from work, to anger when he wasn’t answering texts, to worry when he wasn’t picking up his phone, then back to anger when I hung up on him.
What would he think to do so that I’d be less furious? First that might come to mind were the timeless, tried and true methods: a handwritten note on the sweetest store-bought card, accompanied by a beribboned box of Belgian chocolate truffles or an adorable sad-eyed stuffed toy. He might have a vase of fresh blossoms delivered to my office. Or maybe a casual posy of my favorite flowers, if he remembered what they were; if he didn’t, there’s always the classic single long-stemmed rose.
Should he decide to get a little creative, he could design a handmade card, draw a rueful little cartoon, or paint an apology across a t-shirt. He could write a poem, perhaps a verse or two, put the words to music and sing it over the phone. Would he take me out for my favorite macchiato, the words Forgive Me scrawled on the plastic cup in place of my name?
Technology opens up possibilities. He could e-mail an mp3 of a song I’ve been stuck on. Upload a Bob Dylan-esque video with his words of contrition written on cue cards. Send an e-card, a gift, or virtual flowers to my social networking account, an animated MMS to my phone. But he better not spam me with forwarded trite messages.
In the end, I got the apology I most wanted without having to tell him. Early next morning I woke to the sound of a gentle tapping at my door. He stood outside with a paper-wrapped bouquet of flowers. He remembered that I loved dark pink roses. Handing me the flowers that surely must’ve been bought at daybreak from the fresh flower market all the way across town, he looked look deep into my eyes and said, “I’m sorry.”
I was in bloom.