“This is going to sound strange,” she said. “But are you a mother?”
“Well, today was my mother’s birthday,” she said, her voice breaking. “And these were her favorite flowers, and I make a habit every year of giving somebody else a bunch of them.” And she handed the flowers to me.
I mumbled “Thank you” – I wish I had more presence of mind in situations like this and had said something more to her – took the flowers home, and there they sit, in my living room in the biggest vase I own.
I hope she feels happier today.