Return to Sender

Another bouquet of flowers showed up today. That’s the third this week.

They’re beautiful flowers, they really are. Roses, and lilies, bursts of color and baby’s breath. Lovely arrangements that would make anyone happy to receive.

Yet every time they arrive, I can’t help but feel a stab of fear.

I guess I should explain.

This all started back in college, when I started dating this guy – we’ll call him Mike. He was a nice enough guy, we just…weren’t really compatible. I don’t know. It didn’t work out, for the same reason a lot of things in college don’t work out, and I never would have given it a second thought or even really remember him at all if it weren’t for the flowers.

The first bouquet showed up the week after our last date, after I’d texted him to say “this isn’t working out.” They were vibrant blue chrysanthemums and white roses and they came with no note or explanation – they merely appeared on the welcome mat in front of my apartment door.

I waited for him to try and follow up, to get back together with me, but he never did. I even texted him to thank him for the flowers and he insisted he didn’t send them, but of course he’d say that.

But then, in a few weeks, another bouquet arrived.

And then another. And the week after that, a third.

And pretty soon, the flowers were coming every week. When I moved out of my apartment, they were waiting for me at my new address. When I got a job in a different state, they arrived at my workplace, placed cheerfully on my desk.

I called and texted Mike, trying to get him to stop, but I kept getting a “message failed” or “this number has been disconnected.” I guess he changed his number. Maybe he didn’t want me calling to harass him.

The flowers kept coming, and I started to get creeped out. How did he know where I lived? How did he keep finding me?

I changed my phone number. I moved. I became meticulous about hiding my identity online. I called the florists and begged them to put me on a “no-deliver” list. I even called the police and tried to file a report that I was being stalked. Let me tell you – trying to get the police to do something about a guy delivering you flowers? Not an easy task.

But nothing I did could keep the flowers from coming. They just kept showing up, every week, and then twice a week – for nearly three years now. No matter where I live or where I work, somehow, the flowers just keep coming.

Which brings us to today, and the newest bouquet. Usually, when I get them, I’m exasperated or a little uneasy or just plain mad. But lately, I’ve been getting more and more scared.

Because I was on Facebook the other day, prowling through friends-of-friends and old classmates, snooping around the way you do when you’ve had a couple drinks and a free evening.

And I found Mike’s Facebook page.

It was covered in messages of mourning and memorial. Because Mike’s been dead for nearly three years.

Credit: T.L. Bodine

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