There’s a very nice man named Z at this store called Jasmine’s Garden on Hillhurst (between Finley and the Albertson’s).

I browsed the small store for a long time, smelling the soaps and candles. I told him I wanted to buy everything.

‘Don’t buy everything,’ he said, alarmed.

After a beat, he chuckled and recanted, ‘Well, maybe buy everything and then I’ll close up and go home early.’

A brave squirrel (one of the outcasts from Cinderella on Ice, no doubt) wandered in the back door and looked at me expectantly. Z shooed him away and said the squirrel was after peanuts. ‘Naturally,’ I replied.

Finally, I bought a Stargazer and some bamboo. As a bonus, Z added an enormous orange rose that I’d been admiring. He told me it was a Circus Rose.

It was in full bloom, in its very last days. Z  explained why cut flowers can live in water but won’t ever grow.

I considered this as he peeled off the outermost petals and wrapped the stem.