Sheila was busy preparing her husband Gary’s favorite dish for the banquet at the lodge tonight. She did not want to go. There was usually one every other month; and since this was February she could practically see in her mind’s eye the way that the ladies would have decorated everything in tacky pink, white, and red Valentine’s decorations. She shuddered at the thought.
It was not so much that she did not like the lodge, or the people that went there. It was more the fact that it was her anniversary. Yes, she and Gary had reached the peak of clichés and were married on Valentine’s Day five years ago. At the time she thought that getting married on that particular day would mean her husband would never forget their anniversary, and they would always be able to celebrate. In a way, she was correct. Every year they celebrated it with the entire lodge.
The phone rang loudly just as she was reaching for the casserole dish in the oven. Startled, she dropped the hot pad and her finger grazed the heated dish. She muttered under her breath about stupid phones while she stuck her finger in her mouth to cool it off.
“Hello?” she answered around her thumb.
“Hey, Sheila. How is your day going today?”
She took a deep breath. “It has been fine, Gary. Well, it was until I burned my finger on the chicken casserole.”
“Oh, sorry to hear that. I just wanted to let you know that we need to be at the lodge at 6, not 630 like I thought.”
“Gary, that is only half an hour from now!” Great, now there was no way she could look decent in time. At least the casserole was finished. She took it out of the oven while holding the phone between her shoulder and neck. The last thing she needed today was to burn her part of dinner as well.
“I know honey, but I just found out myself. I will meet you there, the boss is coming and I need to get off the phone. Love you.”
“Love you…” She would have finished her sentence, but instead she was met with a dial tone. What was going on? Even when his boss came by, Gary had never hung up on her before.
Luckily she had already picked out her clothes and jewelry, so it was not nearly as much of an inconvenience when she had to get ready early as she thought it would be. She loaded up her casserole and went to meet Gary at the lodge.
When she arrived she noticed that something was wrong. The parking lot was empty except for Gary’s car and now hers. Sheila just shrugged and figured maybe no one else knew they were supposed to be early. The worst case scenario would probably be that she and Gary were going to have to set up alone.
Yet another wonderful anniversary sharing her husband and day with the whole lodge.
Gary met her as she was about to open the door. The smile on his face was bigger than she had seen in years and she immediately wondered what he was up to.
“Okay beautiful, you need to give me the casserole, then close your eyes and take my hand and I will lead you in to the lodge.” If possible, his smile got even wider.
“Um, ok?” She knew it came out sounding like a question, but she was confused.
She handed over the casserole and closed her eyes. Gary took her hand and took her to what she knew would be the banquet room.
“Stay still, and keep your eyes closed. I’m going to let go of your hand long enough to set this down, and I will be right back. Don’t open your eyes, please!”
She felt Gary let go of her hand, and then just a few seconds later he was back and took it again. He walked behind her and leaned over her right shoulder. “Okay, open your eyes.”
Sheila opened her eyes to see the banquet room decorated in purples and greens. It looked amazingly almost just like it did for their wedding reception, five years ago. There was only one table set, with a place setting for two.
“Happy Anniversary, my beautiful wife.”
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