On Friday morning, on my way over to my part-time job, the sunflower plants at the farmers market were 5 euro for 2, or 6 euro for 3. So I just got 3, even though I only have space for one at home and another one at the office. I’d find a destination for number 3 somehow. On Friday night, I left the 3rd one on my office desk for the weekend, asking my co-worker S. who would be in to water it every once in a while. When I came in on a very gloomy Monday morning, after a weekend of torrential rains, there it was, in all its sunflower glory, speaking of (rather: beaming with!) all the care my gentle co-worker had given it while we were out enjoying our weekends. Monday morning also marked the return to the office of our recently divorced colleague H., after her vacation. Earlier this summer she had signed the paperwork for are a small but really cute house for herself and her two children, and she was so ready to leave their tiny rental apartment and a very painful time of their lives behind. Before her vacation she had briefly mentioned that there might be a problem with the sale. A sad story, which she had to confirm on that gloomy Monday morning: the seller had declared bankruptcy, the banks might put the house up for public sale, she might not be able to afford it any more, and perhaps worst of all was the uncertainty: she wouldn’t know for sure what was going to happen until two months down the road, and in the meantime she was bound by any papers she had signed, couldn’t really start house-hunting for other places. We all tried to offer her our warmest wishes, but there was so little we could actually do. When she was out for lunch, I knew that the sunflower had found a new caregiver. I left it on her desk, and was showered with thank-you notes from her on my cell phone that afternoon.

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