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The Flower Shop on Prinsengracht

The Flower Shop on Prinsengracht

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The Flower Shop on Prinsengracht

5/5 (13 Bewertungen)
94 Seiten
1 Stunde
Jun 2, 2020


Though it lies unassuming above the Prinsengracht canal in Amsterdam, a beloved flower shop soon becomes the center of everything for four young couples trying to find their way in the world as the end of summer approaches. In these contemporary romantic stories, plans change, and people with them, as they discover that sometimes all it takes to begin again is a bunch of flowers and a new face.
Jun 2, 2020

Über den Autor

Rachel Bowdler is a freelance writer, editor, and sometimes photographer from the UK. She spends most of her time away with the faeries. When she is not putting off writing by scrolling through Twitter and binge-watching sitcoms, you can find her walking her dog, painting, and passionately crying about her favourite fictional characters. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @rach_bowdler.

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The Flower Shop on Prinsengracht - Rachel Bowdler

Part One: Sunflowers for Katrien

The pile of unanswered postcards from Rowan grew taller every day. Today’s was from Bruges: a standard Wish you were here! in his messy penciled scrawl on the back. Nell had tried to reply to them a dozen times, but each time she pulled the pen from her apron when the flower shop quieted after lunch, her fingers froze and the English language seemed to drop out of her head like the browning petals that wilted from their stems and curled miserably on the discount shelf in the corner. She could not even bring herself to try this time, opening the bottom drawer behind the counter and throwing it in with the rest of them before she could talk herself out of it or let the guilt find her again.

The sound of the bell above the door tinkling was a welcome respite, and she raised her head, unsurprised to find a red-haired girl stepping into the shop. A halo of sunlight tried to slip in behind her, but she shut it out quickly.

Nell checked her wristwatch: thirty-four minutes past three. She was four minutes late. Like clockwork, the customer headed straight for the sunflowers on the back wall, plucking the brightest one from the bucket without humoring any of the other flowers around her. The girl was disheveled today, Nell noticed, as she turned around and approached the counter, her hair tufting and curling wherever it pleased and her black trousers stained with what Nell hoped was coffee. Nell had gathered from the countless times the girl had left her apron tied around her waist that she probably worked as a waitress, but where, she knew not — and hadn’t found it in herself to ask. It was the girl’s green eyes that always stopped her, with their quiet and intimidating intensity. They wouldn’t stop her today, though; Nell had planned her speech ahead of time, and as she punched the numbers into the cash register, she took her cue.

Unwavering devotion.

It had sounded better in her head… and in her head, there hadn’t been an awkward silence to follow.

The girl had been rooting through her bag, but stopped now, coins rattling in her hand, to look up bemusedly. Excuse me?

It’s what they mean. Nell nodded to the sunflower as the girl dropped the money into her outstretched palm. She no longer needed to ask if she wanted it wrapped in paper: the answer was always no. To give somebody a sunflower means to love them as the sunflowers love the sun — you know, because they follow the sun’s path.

Oh. I see. The girl tilted her head with a frown as she put away her purse. She was Dutch, her accent lilting — Nell didn’t know why she was surprised at that, what with them being in the center of Amsterdam. Even after a gap year spent traveling, she still expected those she met to reply with the same British accent as hers. It had been months since she had heard anything close. It makes sense.

Nell nodded, heat rising to her cheeks as she realized how silly she must have sounded.

The girl picked up the sunflower, giving Nell a small nod. Thank you.

No problem. Nell pasted a polite smile on her face. Enjoy the rest of your day.

She was already halfway out the door when Nell said it, but still, she turned, offering a ghost of a smile before she left and let the painted yellow door fall shut behind her.

As she did every afternoon at a few minutes past three thirty, Nell watched the girl place the sunflower in her bike basket and hop onto the seat, blinding sunlight gleaming across the canal behind her.

She was early the next day.

Nell had been slouching on the counter, a headache forming behind her eyes. After weeks of working in the shop, she still found the sweet scent of the flowers to be overwhelming.

She straightened as the girl entered, retrieved her sunflower, and came over to pay. She wasn’t in work uniform today, her hair falling in frizzy tendrils across her freckled face and a ripped denim jacket thrown over a floral summer dress, replacing her usual white shirt and black trousers. Her mood seemed the better for it: she was already smiling as she placed the sunflower on the counter.

Two euros, please, Nell said, if only for something to say.

The coins were warm as they fell into Nell’s hand. I told my grandmother what you said… about the sunflowers, I mean.

Nell’s eyebrows arched in surprise as she dispensed the money into the cash register. Yeah? What did she say?

She said that she knew already. She chuckled, shuffling on her feet as the sunlight dripped through the window and onto her, lining her with its glow. She’s a know-it-all, my grandmother, even now.

Is that whom the flowers are for? Nell cursed herself as soon as the words left her lips: too personal, too nosy.

The girl nodded, though, glad to volunteer the information. Yes. You must have thought I was a crazy person, coming in here for just one sunflower every day.

I did wonder. Nell laughed. She must really love them, to be given so many.

The girl hesitated, twisting the stem between her fingers. There is a story behind them for her.

The sharp edge of the counter dug into Nell’s hip as she leaned forward, resting her hands in the pocket of her green apron. Really?

The girl hummed a yes, knitting her eyebrows together. Every day that they were in season, my grandfather, when he was alive, would go for a walk along the Prinsengracht in the morning and come back with a sunflower for my grandmother; every day until he could no longer walk.

That’s.… She was at a loss, mouth opening and closing in a silent plea for words. That’s lovely. I’m sorry for your loss.

The girl nodded, making no move to leave as she usually did.

And now you’ve taken his place? You take a sunflower for her every day?

Yes, she answered softly, and every time I walk through the red door across the canal, her face lights up just the same as when he lived. If I turn up with tulips in the spring, or roses in winter, she looks at me as though I were a stranger.

I’m sorry, Nell said, and meant it. It’s a shame that sunflowers aren’t in season all year round.

The girl shrugged. I don’t think they would be so special to her, then.

The weight of those green eyes fell to Nell, squinting in the sun and yet still too much, too bright, to look at. Anyway, I am babbling and she is waiting for me. Thank you.

Of course. Enjoy the rest of your day. Nell smiled, chest aching as the girl turned her back and disappeared. She checked her watch: forty-one minutes past three.

She was already wishing for three thirty tomorrow.

The sunflower lay untouched on the counter, already drooping in the oppressive July heat as Sofie — Nell had learned her name only yesterday — told Nell another story about her grandmother. It had become routine,

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  • (5/5)
    This is such a sweet story! I’ll never look at sunflowers the same way again.