The hibiscus is a majestic flower, regal, a bell that could ring at any moment. Always standing at attention, always poised with the elegant neck of a ballerina, staring at the sun.
My very first boyfriend, Johnny James, had a hibiscus tree in his front garden. Much to the chagrin of his mother he used to pick one for me every morning and bring it to school. I accepted each flower humbly, too embarrassed to wear it behind my ear like a Polynesian princess as Johnny suggested; instead I wrapped each one in tissue paper, keeping it in my schoolbag, checking inside each fluted cup at recess and lunchtime to make sure there were no baby fairies or ladybugs trapped within.
Every time I see a hibiscus I think of those school days marked by flowers and wonder if Johnny ever thought as he picked yet another hibiscus from his mother’s tree, that I would always remember them.