IKEBANA for Beginners



“He loves me…”




“Loves me not…”






“Loves me… shit!  What is it, Heero?”


“What the hell are you doing?”


“What does it look like?”




“Looks like you’re snipping flower heads.”




“Can you expand on that answer for me?”


“Pedant.  I am snipping flower heads, is all.  I’m making an arrangement for Sharon’s birthday.”


“Of dead flowers.”


“Of flower heads, Heero.  Just a few.  I’m not decimating anyone’s garden display.  I have a plain glass bowl, shallow, just thought I’d practise my ikebana, to offer to her as a gift.”




“Don’t mock me.  It’s the Japanese art of flower arranging; a philosophy of developing a closeness with nature, with its heart in the beauty resulting from color combinations, natural shapes and graceful lines…”


“Now you’re mocking.  I know what ikebana is.  I know that in its practise, one becomes quiet – one can become more patient and tolerant of differences both in nature and other people.”


“Right.  Well, I’m still working on that bit.”


“And as an art, it takes three to five years to acquire the skills.”


“Did I say you were a pedant?  You’re a swot, too.  I’m barely started, really, but I think I have a flair for it.  Let me get on, OK?”




“Why what?”


“Why something for Sharon?”


“Jeez… it’s attractive, that’s why.  She likes beautiful things.  I chose chrysanthemums, y’see, generally for friendship and cheerfulness, red for love and best wishes –“




“Hell, you are some kind of a Rotweiler!  OK, OK, so I forgot to post her birthday card until the other day and now it’ll be late, and I’m feeling kinda guilty…”


“And they are attractive.”


“Huh?  I mean – yes, they are.  You mean you’re not angry with me?  About being late with the card?  I don’t want her to think we forgot her special day.”


“She’ll forgive you.  Eventually.”


“Just me?  What about you?  You were in charge of the airmail stamps…”


“What will you do with your arrangement, Duo?”


“So change the subject, why don’tcha?  I’ll weave the blooms in the bowl and light a candle beside them on the table, for her one-on-one birthday supper with Jay.”


“You won’t be invited, Duo.  I can’t remember when one-on-one ever added up to three.”


“Duh.  I know that.  It’s a gesture, Heero.  It’s virtual – love over the net.  She’ll understand.”


“You are a romantic fool, Maxwell.”


“She deserves it.  So is she.  You’re in a minority of one, Mr Pragmatic Yuy.”


“Not always.”


“Not always what?”


“Give me the secateurs.”


“Look, I’m quite safe with them, that last business with the roses, my thumb has almost healed completely now –“


“No.  Just lend them to me a minute.”


“You wanna do flower arranging?  You think that’s your scene, Heero?  I mean, every man should be allowed the opportunity to express himself, of course, but do you really think -?”




“A bloom.  A couple of petals.  What’s up, Heero?”




“Umm… huh?”


“The Japanese believe that a single chrysanthemum petal in the bottom of a wine glass, Duo, encourages a long and healthy life.”


“Jeez.  So there is the smallest blob of romance in you after all.”


“Your way with words is hardly enviable.  Now hand me the bloom.”


“Look, don’t touch my display!  It’s a balance thing – there needs to be a sense of harmony and that’s another thing I’m still working on –“


“This one is for us, Duo.”




Sip.  Wipe.  Fluttering petals.


“Here.  For you.”


“You’ve wiped your mouth with it, Heero!  I could’ve got you a tissue…”


“Fool.  The Chinese believe that a chrysanthemum given to one's beloved, having been used to wipe one's mouth after drinking wine, will ensure undying love and fidelity.”


“Undying, huh?”


“If you don’t put the secateurs down that may not be negotiable.”


“You think I should tell Sharon that?”


“You mean during her candlelit one-on-one supper and celebrations?”


“Sure, sure!  We’re friends, y’know –“




“You think so?  Guess you’re right.  The thought’s the thing, right?  I’ll LJ her later on.”


Whisper.  Teeth grinding.


“OK, OK, later in the week, then.  So what do you think of the display?  Good?”


“It’s very expressive, Duo.”


“Is that good?  Hell, don’t answer that.  So long as she likes it.”


“She will.  You’ve taken a lot of care with it.”


“Hey, don’t make me blush!  So what’ll we do now?”


“Come here.”




“Without the secateurs.”


“Ha ha, Heero.  You looking for something else to bloom?”


“You looking for some natural shapes and graceful lines?”


“We’ll do some arranging together, right?”




“Harmony’s a fabulous thing.”


“So are you, Duo.”


“Loves me…”




“Just the language of flowers, Heero.”


“No snipping?”


“Promise.  And Heero –“




“The undying love?  That’s a promise, too.”