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Birthday surprise, the box that came and........

The love of a lifetime

By Emma WhitePublished 2 years ago 10 min read
Birthday surprise, the box that came and........
Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

I had just finished my shift at the restaurant, and it was 12.00am in morning. I unlocked my car and got in, and as I drove, I fell into my pattern of digesting and thinking about my day, week, which all blended into each other.

My feet were killing me, and my tips were very scarce. Regardless of apparently being the "pretty one." Unfortunately, men never want to tip you unless you are interested in going home with them., "Want a tip? I could walk you home after your shift; a pretty girl like you might find herself in strife." To which I respond, Thank you for the compliment, but no, thank you, sir, I can get myself home." Internally hiding, the almost wanting to growl at them, thinking, "oh, strife like you, forcing yourself on me because you tipped me, sure sounds like such a great idea." This is followed by an internal eye roll.

Because of this, I seldom get tips. I get the odd one because I am actually really good at my job. As a waitress and as a staff member, I am the restaurant wait staff manager. But most Tips are offered with shallow prehistoric chauvinist intentions, and once you crush the egotistical agender behind them, they quickly retreat on their "innocent" tipping.

Cassie, whom I love, she is this pretty red-haired, bubbly Scottish lady, she is also a manager who looks after all the bar staff, just says, "A dinnae unnerstaun, These gentleman's will pey for awthing, just do it ay ."

Which translates to "I don't understand; these gentlemen will pay for everything, just do it?"

Then Hannah finishes off with, "Yes, they tip well, plus you never know one of them might be a prince or something, plus the uglier ones just flirt with them, that's enough and disappear so they can't find you when they leave." They both laugh at this, and it is usually followed by some pretty wild stories.

I genuinely love these two women, but I just refuse to flirt with men to get a tip or sleep with them. Because I hate that men still think because you waitress or are a bar staff member, it is acceptable for them to presume that you are basically a low-paying prostitute. (Because that industry is actually relatively highly-priced, according to Hannah, anyway. How she knows that? I have never ASKED.) My beautiful friends are not helping the narrative. I worry about getting hurt, plus it encourages men to continually think in this way.

It's was 12:40, am and I pulled into my drive and apartment block, entered the security key, and drove into the compound to my carport. As I exited my car and locked it manually, I went inside the building because my key is broken. I walked up the 7 flights of stairs, fearful of the dodgy lift, and finally got to my door. I unlocked it and stepped inside, making sure to hang my keys in their spot perfectly, but they slumped to the right a bit, so I played with them until they met the 5cm's from the other key set. I have small lines drawn on my keyboard, so I don't have to measure them with a ruler anymore. I have a somewhat obsessive personality. My friends tell me I need therapy for this (little do they know I get therapy for many reasons.) But it also makes me good at my job, or any job really, and I never miss any detail.

I had a shower and went to bed. I woke a couple hours later when my alarm went off at 5am, to get up to go for my run and exercise. I don't work on Saturdays and Sundays anymore, well, kind of. I did not finish yesterday until this morning. But I still get up early because for my mental health I need to. It is a habit.

After breakfast, which is the same thing every morning, half a grapefruit, one boiled egg, and a piece of rye bread. I washed up and went to get ready. I felt like I had forgotten something. Like there was something about today. But I could not remember, and I was so annoyed with myself.

As I got my spare key which is on a chain necklace, and put my mobile in my pocket, I realized as I open the door, it dawned on me that I had forgotten it was my own birthday.

"OHHH, happy birthday to me." Now I felt happier, not because it was my birthday but because I remembered why today was necessary and did not fail at life. Maybe it is because regardless of just turning thirty, both my parents had died, as they were pretty older when they had me and I have no siblings, and it was just me.

As I open the door, a suspicious package wrapped in brown paper caught my eye. It was large, neatly wrapped, had a white string on it, a card, and a bright pink bow stuck to the top. I just stood there, not moving. As I looked at it, my over-reactive brain went from, this is a box, to this is a bomb, and it will blow up, and I will die on my birthday.

I held my breath, listening encase I could hear it ticking. Then realized that bombs don't tick anymore in this day and age; they often just blow up. Paralyzed by fear, I grabbed my phone out of my pocket to call someone, police, bomb squad, whoever.

"what if it blows up and kills half the people in my complex." My heart was beating so fast I thought I was going to pass out.

Just then, Tom, the janitor came past; he looked at me and waved.

I just stared at him, and now I was crying.

He looked at me and came over, "Are you ok, miss Jane, what's wrong with you? What's in the box?"

I looked at him and tearfully said, "No, this random box appeared this morning, and WHAT if it has a bomb or something in it? What do I do? Did you see who left it here?" I could feel my weeping getting worse, and my voice almost stopped.

He smiled at me and put his hand on my shoulder, "Now look here, Miss Jane, the likelihood of that is fairly seldom, but I can open it for you."

"No, what if it hurts you" I sobbed at him.

"Now look, Miss, if I pick it up and it does not blow up, let's go to the balcony and open it there; that way, if it is ticking, we can throw it at the cars below, as avoiding any humans."

"Ummm, Tom, ok, but I am so unsure." The tears welling up again as I spoke.

Tom is such a blessing; he is a surrogate father, he knows how to bring me down when I can't do it myself. I am generally ok but sometimes I just can't. It stems from how my father died; I had been with him when his car had been blown up, I was not in the car; I was dragging my feet a couple meters away, not wanting to go to ballet practice, and that's why I lived, but he died instantly. My father had been a high-profile lawyer, and a disgruntled client had on that day decided to take revenge. That fear comes back, often and Tom has typically been there to help me out.

Tom lent down, picked up the box, and I SHUT MY EYES. Waiting for something to wipe us out.

Nothing happened, so he picked it up by the string, carried it out to the balcony. He placed it on the outdoor table, pulled out the Stanley knife he carried to open it, and I shut my eyes again.

I could hear him opening it. And then I heard him laugh.

"Miss Jane, it is not a bomb but a collection of birthday gifts. Look."

I opened one eye as he held my hand, and I looked down to see a vast away of gifts, flowers, chocolates, beautiful clothing, some books, a box of tea, and a Tiffany jewelry case (which I opened and saw the most beautiful earrings inside.)

I sighed, but now fear took over again, "Who the bloody hell is all this from? Do I have a stalker, Tom do I need to call the police."

"No, miss," Tom smiled. "Why don't you read the card."

"umm, Tom, really."

"Yes, Miss Jane, do it."

"Ok, Tom,"

Tom still held my hand.

I took a breath and read the card. "Dear Jane, happy birthday, you know I have always admired you and wanted to spoil you on your birthday; because you are an amazing woman and I want you to have the best in life, and I would love if you could join Dad and myself for dinner. Love Jack ."

I looked at Tom; he was smiling.

"As in JACK, your SON Jack, the really, good-looking police detective?" regretting my answer straight away.

"Yes.., Miss Jane him, sorry, He probably didn't think he was going to give you a panic attack, but glad you think he is good-looking." I sighed such a sigh of relief and smiled sheepishly back at Tom

(I have always liked Jack, and he and Tom have looked after me ever since I moved here several years ago.)

"Ok, well, that's ok…. Sorry Tom"

"It's perfectly ok, Miss, so you are joining us for dinner?"

"Yes, Tom, I would love to."

"Miss Jane, sorry my Jack scared you."

"It's ok now Tom, I know what's going on; sorry for overreacting."

"Miss Jane, it is ok, he is a silly one, wait till I see him."

"Tom, it is ok, it was meant with good intentions, and I can see that now, it is just one of those things."

"I know Miss, he will get there one day." Rolling his eyes.

"To be fair, Tom, your jack is very much there, but my reaction is not the normal thing."

I smiled, and Tom saw it.

"What you are smiling at, Miss?"

"Oh well, Tom, I guess if your son and I ever end up married, this will make for a crazy story to tell our kids."

Realizing I was jumping way ahead, I looked away.

Tom put his hand on my shoulder again, "Miss Jane, that concept of you two married with kids, would be my dream, your perfect for each other. That would make my heart sing."

"Ok, Tom, I mean we will take it slow, but it would be nice."

"That it would, who have both liked each other from the start, but you two are both too dam shy." Tom smiled.

I looked at the view below, "Tom, I think I will put this inside and go for my run; what times dinner later?"

"Sounds good, Miss, say we pick you up at 6.00pm."

"Sounds perfect, Tom; where are we going? Do I need to dress up?"

To which he shook his head, "Only if you want to, just dinner at mine; I'm cooking your and Jack's favorite."

"Ohh Tom, Lamb curry."

"Yes, Miss Jane."

"Aww, Tom, thank you. See you later."

"See you later, Miss Jane, and Happy birthday."

"Thank you, Tom, see you later I can't wait."

I picked up the box and left.

Written by Emma White


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