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the orchid

Bunnings.

Ballina.

The girl at the garden check-out smiles as you approach, takes the flowering cymbidium – pink with a burgundy-coloured spray decorating its pale throat – and reads the barcode into the store’s inventory and pricing system.

A tall girl, a year or three out of High School, no ravages in her fair face.

I ask.

‘What is the difference between a man who buys an orchid for a woman and one who doesn’t?’

All the girl can do is shrug, unable to offer a response.

I tap the card. The sale is approved.

‘Nobody has ever bought one for you?’

Another smile now, slower. Real.

‘No.’

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