Back when my husband and I started dating, our usual date was at a karaoke bar. It was there that Jay first made me a napkin rose.
You take a regular folded square paper napkin, grasp the top edge with your index and middle finger at two points, then take your other hand and twist the rest of the napkin around, tightly, to make a stem – and pull a little corner of napkin out for a leaf. Then you fluff out the bud part and light the edges on fire with a lighter – carefully and quickly! – just so it sears the edges.
It is hard to explain in words, better to show how. Anyways, I was so impressed – and so were the people at a nearby table. Jay continued to make me a napkin rose many times that we went out (whenever a napkin was available), sometimes surprising me with it when I would get back to our table from singing on stage or returning from the restroom.
I remarked how I loved those flowers much more than fresh-cut ones – the roses a person could buy in stores would eventually die and fade away – and long-stem roses or even simpler store-bought bouquets were not an economical choice for us – plus it meant more to me to see the smile on his face as he lovingly created each napkin rose.
I kept two of the first roses he ever made for me, seven years ago. They’re a little yellow with age and the stems are getting weak (from unraveling naturally), but looking at them brings a smile to my face just as quickly as when I was first surprised by my then-boyfriend’s loving gesture.
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