Girls Like Roses
by Jan Hasselius
Girls like roses. Todd liked girls. Therefore, to get girls, you
must have roses. This hypothesis launched my 13-year-old son into
the world of gardening.
"Dad, how much do roses cost?" Todd asked one day.
"That depends, son," his father said, lowering his newspaper.
"Do you want a plant, or do you just want a rose to give to
someone special--like your Mom?"
"I dunno," Todd said, giving nothing away. "What
do both of them cost?"
"Well, you can go to a florist and pay anywhere from two dollars
on up, if that's what you want."
Todd did the math. Two dollars for a rose! If you gave a girl a
dozen roses, that'd be 24 bucks! That's a lot of money for a girl.
Even for a girl named Michelle.
"But if you planted a rose bush," his dad continued,
"you could get roses all season."
"How much does a rose bush cost?" Todd asked.
"They can be pretty expensive. But I tell you what. If you
want to grow roses, I'll help with the cost and teach you how to
care for them. But you'll have to do the work."
Todd thought about it. How much work was a girl worth, even Michelle,
who rode her bike by his house every day? He thought again of how
she always waved and said "Hi Todd!" and how her laughter
made his throat tighten. "All right, I guess" he said
but didn't look his dad directly in the eye.
So Todd and his dad went rose shopping. They picked out three rose
bushes and his dad taught him how to plant them and care for them.
Todd fertilized, powered, and fussed over them. They grew and grew.
One day he noticed rose buds forming. "Hey Dad! Come look at
what I've got! I've got Roses starting! I'm going to have tons of
His dad laughed at his enthusiasm. "That's great, Todd. Now,
you won't really have tons of roses, not the first year anyway.
But if you keep taking such good care of your plants, you'll be
sure to have some.
One day soon after, Michelle and her best friend rode by. "Hi
Todd!" Michelle called out. "What are you doing?"
The perfect opportunity! "Oh, I'm just going to check on my
roses." Todd replied
Michelle's friend looked at Todd with respect. She was quiet and
didn't say much. She left that up to Michelle. Michelle kept teasing
"What are you going to do with them?" I bet you're saving
them for someone aren't you? Who're you going to give them to Todd?"
Todd felt himself starting to blush. "Nobody, really. I just
like to grow them. Do you want one?"
"Sure," she said, "why not? Don't you want one too?"
Michelle asked her friend.
Todd wasn't sure he liked Michelle offering her friend one of his
flowers, but what could he say? He took out his pocketknife and
selected a big beautiful red rose for Michelle and a yellow rose
for her friend. The friend smiled and carefully wrapped her rose
in a napkin she had in her pocket. Michelle laughed. She took her
rose, pointed it at Todd's nose, and waved it about. "Who were
you really saving them for, Todd?" she said.
The large, special rose flopped up and down in front of Todd. Michelle
was still talking, but he didn't her. All he could see was his rose
bobbing up and down one inch in front of his nose. Didn't she have
any respect for his rose? Those roses were a lot of work!
Michelle's face seemed distorted to Todd. Horrid sounds were coming
out of it--her laughter. His chest felt tight. A petal fell off
the rose. It continued to wave up and down in front of him.
Michelle's friend spoke. "Thank you for the beautiful rose,
Todd," she said. "I'd better hurry home now so I can put
it in some water."
Michelle and her friend started to leave. Michelle was still talking
and flopping his rose around. Todd looked at her friend as she gently
held the wrapped rose in her hand, carefully got on her bike and
turned to go.
" Hey!" Todd called, " What's your name?"