My Dear Bella: A Love Story With Flowers
A special Valentine’s Day love story inspired by the bouquet Bella and 59 Flower Cafe
I still remember the first time I met him. I was nineteen, in university. I still had not shed the vestiges of childhood–from my backpack to my high ponytail, my skin unmade up, not even a trace of eyebrow grooming which was all the rage back then. I only cared about school, my family, and surviving living far away from home. I had a few close friends then, most of them lived in the nearby district.
He wasn’t a friend, but I knew of him because he was also Filipino, and while there were many Filipinos in San Francisco, he stood out because he ruled the school. Straight-A student, part of the business council, defending champion of the Cardinals, and the Asian face of our university brochures and websites.
Clearly, we had nothing alike, but then we found ourselves seatmates in a business elective, where, much to my professor’s irritation, I proposed a flower store concept for the incubator series.
I was an old school romantic, I loved flowers and their meanings, but it seems like not everyone is totally on board with this business idea.
“We’re not in this class to show you how to be a florist,” the teacher muttered, judging me, it seems, about the chosen topic. He said that flowers can’t scale quickly, and are almost always seasonal.
As I stood there defending my concept, while the Keynote presentation was flashing on the screen, he stood up and addressed the class. “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower–that’s a quote from Alexander Den Heijer who was talking about plants, but might as well be talking about the education landscape. You’re here to help us pursue our interests, and see their potential and how they can grow. Not everything should have quick results, some things, like flowers, are meant to wait for the right time to bloom.”
He looked at me when he was saying that last line, and I blushed. I wasn’t the prettiest in class, nor was I the smartest, and I wasn’t used to getting attention.
The teacher just shrugged off Ren’s statement, but I remembered every single word.
After that semester, my mother got sick and asked me to go back to Manila to handle the family business, so I finished my term in Manila instead of the United States.
Ten years later, I have fully taken over our family’s furniture business, and started a little flower shop-cafe beside our furniture complex. I’ve been running it for two years now, and the community has embraced us and our presence here in Makati.
There’s this hotel that orders floral displays every two weeks for their lobby and restaurants, and there’s this CEO who orders fresh flowers every week because his wife loved having flowers in the house. Then there are those who’d order flowers for special occasions: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, and of course, our favorite, Valentine’s Day.
I started learning how to do reels, so I made a quick video, but I still remembered his quote, which is why I included it there:
@fiftynineflowercafe This Valentine’s Day, find beauty in the little things, and inspire your loved ones to take charge of their fates. Not everything should have quick results, some things, like flowers, are meant to wait for the right time to bloom. 💐 For orders, you may contact us through the following: 📱09171930059 ☎️ 8421-4554 📩 firstname.lastname@example.org #flowers #flowerphilippines #flowerphilippinesdelivery #flowercafe #flowers #floraldesign #floral #cafe #cafeph #makati #weddingbouquet #bouquet #plants #plantsmakepeoplehappy #freshflowers #flowerarrangement #vasearrangement #flowerdesign ♬ original sound - fiftynineflowercafe
@FiftyNineFlowerCafe: This Valentine’s Day, find beauty in the little things, and inspire your loved ones to take charge of their fates. Not everything should have quick results, some things, like flowers, are meant to wait for the right time to bloom.
I didn’t think much of it, until I got a DM on Instagram.
@WildLotusRen: Well said! Your words sound familiar.
@WildLotusRen: Have you ever heard of this quote from Alexander Den Heijer?
Because he was a client, I answered him as nicely as possible
@FiftyNineFlowerCafe: Thank you for messaging us! We’d love to help you with your floral needs. Are you interested in a specific bouquet?
And then I thought of adding:
@FiftyNineFlowerCafe: He said: “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”
@WildLotusRen: By any chance, is anyone from your staff a member of the S-ford ‘12-13 class?
@WildLotusRen: Sorry, random question.
@WildLotusRen: But I hope you can answer because I’ve been looking for someone for the past 10 years.
I would have been amazed with this turn of events, but fate had something else in store for us. The email address we used for Instagram got hacked, and it took us more than a week to get it back. By then, we’ve been filled with requests for Valentine’s day, because it’s just 5 days away.
I posted our catalogue of flowers online, and added a personal note just for fun:
@FiftyNineFlowerCafe: Remember your first love, first romance, first crush. These flowers serve to bring back the memories of people in your life, and to celebrate the arrival of new ones. Send your bouquet today!
After the hubbub in the store, I was feeling a bit blue. I meet so many couples often, giving each other flowers, appreciating each other’s company for Valentine’s Day, but I’ve been so busy to even go on a date. My past suitors, if you can call them that, fizzled out because I’ve been too caught up with work. When will my time come to bloom?
I got distracted from my gloomy thoughts when I heard someone come in.
“Hi, I’d like to order some flowers. I saw this on your Instagram feed: 10 Holland Tulips? I think it’s called Bella.”
“Yes we have it! Sorry let me just finish up here,” I said hurriedly, I was lifting flowers in the backroom and I couldn’t go out right away.
“Yeah, tulips means “perfect and deep love,” it reminds me of my first love, but I lost her 10 years ago. In San Francisco, we once went on a school trip to Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden. That was nice. Anyway, why am I telling you this?”
I listened behind the door, my hands still shaking.
“Ren?” I said, walking slowly.
“Bella?” He said, his eyes shining.
I walked up to him, mustering up all the courage I had.
“Hello classmate. How have you been?”
This story was inspired by the Bella bouquet of 59 Flower Cafe. Bella is the name of an actual bouquet, while Ren means lotus in Japanese, and the flower is the symbol of perfection and purity, quite similar to the meaning of tulips.
Fall in love and say it with flowers. Check out the Valentine’s Day offerings of 59 Flower Cafe. Call 09171930059 or 8421-4554, and visit email@example.com.
Check out the gallery below for their Valentine’s Day offerings.