Astoria Characters: The Lover Left Holding the Daffodils

05/26/2015 05:02 am ET | Updated May 26, 2016

When I first saw him, he was sitting on the stoop.

I wouldn't have noticed him except he was clutching a bunch of daffodils.


Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Daffodils are symbols of unrequited love.

The flowers, which were bowing their buttery brows in a nod to nighttime, and probably a lack of water, were married by a piece of crunched-up tin foil.

The man, who had lost his youth long ago, looked a little sad. He petted my dog, so I said hello and remarked upon the beauty of the blooms.

He smiled.

I continued my walk and thought no more about him.

Until I saw him again the next week. This time he was standing outside the apartment building on 27th Street. And he had another batch of daffodils.


Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
He hoped the flowers would woo his lover.

They looked fresher than the first.

He petted my dog again, and I commented on his return.

"They're for my ex," he said. "I'm trying to win her back."

"Is it working?" I asked.

"Not really," he replied.

I told him I hoped they would kiss and make up.


Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Love in full bloom.

Somehow, I knew that the course of this true love would not run smooth or even rough.

The flowers didn't come from a fancy florist. They were hand-picked from a home-grown garden.

Love lost needs to be dazzled, especially when the embrace is in mid-life.

As the weeks went by, I kept hoping to see the daffodil guy again. I wanted to know so many things.

When -- and why -- did his love go wrong?

How long were they together?


Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
His was an evergreen gesture.

Where did they meet?

What did the first kiss feel like?

What made them fall in love?

What made them fall out of love?

Why, why, why did this have to happen?


Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Last bloom, last hope.

I didn't want him and his story, whatever it was, to fade from my mind as swiftly as the season. And his fresh-cut daffodils.

Then I realized that it didn't matter.

As long as there are lovers, there will always be a guy standing outside an apartment building clutching a bunch of daffodils close to his heart.

If I keep walking long enough, I'm bound to meet him again.

Nancy A. Ruhling may be reached at; nruhling on Instagram.
Copyright 2015 by Nancy A. Ruhling