Logan could hear Sharon’s voice as he looked at the vase of roses on the display counter. “Don’t get me flowers this year. We really need to keep saving for the house.”

“Would you like a second dozen for half price?”

“Uh. A second dozen?”

“It’s our Valentine’s Special.”

He looked at the roses on the display. “Yeah, that  would be great.”

“She’s going to love them. And it’s a good thing you’re getting them a few days early. A lot of people will wait until Valentine’s Day to order and it’ll be too late.”

“Too late.” He echoed her words as he nodded.

“You wouldn’t believe how many wait until the last minute.”

He scribbled a signature on the receipt and returned his credit card to his wallet.

“I’ll go prepare them now. It will take me about ten minutes. Are you sure you want to wait?”

“Yes, that’s fine,” he said, looking at his watch.

“Look, mom! Aren’t these pretty? I like the yellow ones the best. Can I have a balloon?”

He watched as the child jumped around in the store, moving from one arrangement or plant to the next. The child’s mom grew more nervous with each sudden movement. “Don’t touch anything. Just look.”

Watching them brought Sharon’s voice again. “Don’t get me anything this year. We need to spend the money on diapers and wipes. And this little guy is eating a lot!” Her eyes were filled with laughter.

She was always frugal and practical, but he knew she loved them – roses, in particular. He could tell by the way she gushed about them for weeks when he surprised her for their anniversary that year. The way she pampered them each day as if they were one of her children.

But the years passed quickly and the house was now empty of flowers and children.

“Here you go sir. I’m sure she will love these.” The cashier set a large vase on the counter in front of him. The crimson roses stood tall amidst a throng of greenery and petite white flowers.

He glanced at his watch again as he picked up the vase and muttered a quick “Thank you.”

Keeping one hand on the vase, he maneuvered through traffic with the other. Looking at the sky, he wished he had left work earlier. Actually, he was wishing he had taken the day off. At the time that seemed like too much, but he had forgotten how early dark arrived in February. Besides, he didn’t really know how to best plan days like this.

Nearing the last turn, he found himself imagining Sharon’s face at the sight of the roses and her voice as she praised them.

“Why haven’t I done this more often?” he thought as he retrieved the vase from the car. As he closed the door his hands began to shake. This was always the hardest part.

A cold wind blew across him as he approached her headstone.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, dear. I got you roses.”