The Perfect Birthday Gift
Love always finds a way.
“What are you giving me for my birthday, Ralph?” Agnes quizzed. “You might as well tell me now so I can decide if it’s something I want. I always figure out what it is a week before you give it to me, so why wait?”
“Not this year,” I said confidently. “This will be the gift of a lifetime, one that you’ll use every day. Once you have it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. I spent several days figuring out how to construct your gift, but I’ve gathered everything I need out in the workshop, so I’m good to go.” (I had already purchased her present and hidden it in the workshop; telling Agnes I was making it was a ruse.)
We’ve been married for thirty-five years. In all that time, I could never surprise Agnes with a gift. She would find a store receipt I forgot to remove from my pants pocket before tossing them into the laundry. I might mention something about a gift to a friend, who told his wife, who told Agnes—every year something gave it away, but not this year.
Agnes isn’t a patient person, so having to wait two weeks just wasn’t acceptable. As soon as I sequestered myself in the workshop, she called our mutual friends.
“Has Ralph mentioned anything about a special item he’s working on? Did Ralph talk to your husband about a special tool he needed?” The unrelenting inquisitions continued until Agnes ran out of people to ask. One of her friends suggested she sneak out to the backyard workshop and peek in the window while I was working on her gift.
The next day, Agnes stealthily made her way to the workshop. She lifted her head just high enough to peer through the window and discovered the shade was drawn. Attached to it was a simple note in large block letters: NOT THIS TIME LOVE!
Frustrated, Agnes returned to the house foiled, but not defeated. Like any good general, she immediately formed a new plan of attack. Her tactic was a three-pronged approach used by women throughout the ages. Agnes would seduce me with food, booze, and romance. She immediately went to work preparing my favorite meal. She checked the liquor cabinet, verifying there was an ample supply of bourbon. Last, Agnes rummaged around in her chest of draws, locating a negligee she hadn’t worn in over 20 years and hoped it still fit. With all systems go, she patiently waited for me to come in from my workshop.
I know I’m not a romantic guy. Reflecting on over thirty years of marriage, I feel my contribution to the relationship is stability, loyalty, companionship, and above all else, my undying love for Agnes. Oh, I’ve had brief flashes of romance, usually stumbled into purely by accident, but it’s just not me. I hope to change my dismal record with this gift.
I walked through the back door and entered the kitchen, where my senses were immediately stimulated by a mouthwatering aroma. “Hi Hon, is that my favorite dish you’re making? I thought you said no more high-calorie, high-carb meals were going to be served in this house.”
“Well, I may have said that, but I realized that was rather severe. Why should I deprive you of one of your favorite meals when you’ve been working so hard on something for me—whatever that might be? I poured you a bourbon. Why don’t you take it with you and get showered for dinner—and maybe set aside one of your little blue pills for later.”
Grinning at her not-so-subtle attempt at subterfuge, I grabbed my drink and headed to the bathroom. I may not be the sharpest knife in the draw, but after thirty-five years, I know when she’s playing me. I’ll milk this for all it’s worth, but she’ll never find out what her gift is.
The meal was delicious, the conversation pleasant, and occasionally Agnes would top off my drink. When she went to the kitchen to fetch dessert, I diluted my bourbon with water. Dinner finished, we snuggled on the couch and watched the latest version of “A Star Is Born.”
“If you take care of the lights, I’ll go get ready for bed,” said Agnes. She gave me a long, passionate kiss.
“You sure know how to extend an invitation. See you in there.”
I turned out the lights and turned down the bed. I finished just in time to watch Agnes emerge from the bathroom wearing her negligee. I hadn’t seen her in it for at least twenty years, but to me, she was every bit as beautiful as the first time she wore it. Everything went according to Agnes’s plan, except that when she tried persuading me to reveal my secret, I was already fast asleep—once again; she was stymied.
It’s the big day! I kept Agnes in the dark, and now for the big reveal. I sang “Happy Birthday”. She blew out the candles, and I handed Agnes a nicely wrapped box tied with a fancy bow.
“I can’t believe you could keep me in the dark.” Agnes tore through the wrapping and opened the box. She was puzzled at the small, oddly shaped object in her hands. “A watering can!” Agnes’s voice wavered between disappointment and anger.
“No, it’s a Neti Pot. You use it to flush out your sinuses. The way you’ve been waking yourself up at night snoring and sniffing, I’m worried you aren’t getting a good night’s sleep. I personalized the pot with rose decals because I know how much you like them. See, I can be romantic too!”
Agnes laughed and kissed Ralph, thanking him for her special present.
About the Creator
I have spent most of my life traveling around the US and the globe. Now it's time to draw on these experiences and create what I hope are interesting fictional stories. Only you, the reader, can tell me if I've achieved my goal.
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