It was late January and Corrine impatiently waited for the first of the spring flowers to appear. She loved flowers much more than snow and it was days like this that made her wonder again why she moved to Minnesota from London after graduation from University.
Her favorite early spring flower was the tiny, delicate bell-shaped flower her grandmother in England lovingly called “Candlemas Bells.” Just this morning she showed her fourth-grade students pictures of spring flowers during Science class.
“The Scientific name for these little beauties,” she told the class, holding a picture of Candlemas Bells, “is Galanthus nivalis. Do any of you recognize them? Have any of you ever seen them popping up out of the snow?”
“Yes, those are Snow Drops!” Samantha proudly proclaimed. “My mother says they are the first flower of the spring. She planted some in our back yard, but I have never seen them anywhere else.”
“Yes, they are native to Western Europe and the British Isles.” Corinne told the class. “But more and more people are planting them in America.”
Now it was late afternoon, although the winter light made it feel more like early evening. It would be dark soon and Corrine was making her way home from school over icy streets. Her car’s balding tires, slipping and sliding at the slightest touch of the gas pedal, made her drive very slowly and she arrived home much later than usual.
She had to park in the driveway in front of the closed garage because her automatic garage door opener would not work. “The battery must be dead,” she thought. When she opened the car door, the wind and snow swirled and the cold lashed her cheeks. She got out of the car and waded through the snow piled on the sidewalk leading to her front porch, following a set of tracks already going up to the door.
Curious, she looked at the porch to see if anyone was waiting for her, but saw only a small pot with tiny white flowers, a note tied to one of the fragile stems.
“Oh!” she exclaimed. “Candlemas Bells! Where did they come from?” She picked up the pot and tried to get the key out of her purse with her other hand. The mittens she was wearing made it hard to hold both the flower pot and dig in her purse, so she ended up putting the pot down again and pulling off her mitten. She found the key and opened the front door, turning back to pick up the flower pot.
What a coincidence that these flowers should arrive on her doorstep the very day she was thinking about them. But, who could have sent them? Nobody she knew here had even heard of them, let alone knew she liked them so much. In fact, other than her grandmother in England, there was only one other person who knew about her love for Candlemas Bells, and he lived in Scotland. Corrine had not heard from him in years.
She picked up the note, hoping it would provide a clue for her. “It couldn’t be Seamus, he and I have not spoken since we broke up and I moved to America,” she thought as she tore open the envelope.
“I know they call them Snow Drops in America, and I hope you still love them as much.” That’s all. Corrine turned the note over, hoping for some more information on the back, but there was nothing. The handwriting was generic, it could have been either a man’s or a woman’s, and it was not at all familiar to her.
She put the note next to the flower pot on the coffee table, then sat and stared at it for a while. Her chin framed by both hands, elbows on her knees, she thought about the wonderful times she and Seamus had while at University in London. “Could it be? Is he here?” She wondered.
She was not sure how she felt about him. They parted with no hard feelings, but there had been absolutely no communication in the years since they went their separate ways. “Well, sitting here in the cold is not going to solve this mystery. I better find something for dinner, and then I will work on this puzzle some more.” Corrine noticed the room was quite chilly, probably because she had forgotten to turn the heat up when she arrived home.
Later that evening, after she ate her solitary meal of soup and salad, Corrine poured a glass of wine and went back to the living room where the flower pot with the Candlemas Bells waited for her. She thought about calling her grandmother, but it was 2:00 am in London.
She spent the next several minutes wondering just what she would say to Seamus, if it was him. “It must be him,” she thought, “It is just like him do do something like this.” She was excited, and a bit apprehensive. Did she still look good enough for him? Or did she look like a frumpy old school teacher? “Why is he here? Does he want to get back together?”
The doorbell rang. “Oh my! That’s him!”
Corrine patted her hair, closed her eyes, and opened the door. In her most charming and, she hoped, seductive voice, she said, “Why, hello Sea. . . uh, Grandmother!”