Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the ROMANCE genre (04/19/07)
TITLE: The Eight Anniversary
By Sara Harricharan
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
Ten years my senior and the most famed woman detective in the states, I idolized her until our partnership. It lasted three years and she became my hero.
The following year I married her and left all dreams of a normal life behind.
Today is our eighth wedding anniversary. I’m shopping at the mall for a few gifts. She hates it when I make a big deal out of things, so the gifts will have to be few and practical.
I stop by sportswear to pick up two new outfits. Black for her and navy for me.
Every year she signs me up for something new, and out of obvious guilt, signs herself up as well. Some years I stick with it, others I don’t.
Last year was yoga. Neither of us lasted through the second week.
I hope she doesn’t pick something like gymnastics. No, wait. That was our second year.
Kyna needs a new holster. Her current one shouldn’t be in use. I couldn’t convince her to switch last month, but maybe she’ll change her mind if I monogram it. I’m thinking silver, gold is too flashy.
It takes longer than I expect to get it and my stomach is growling from neglect.
A quick detour to the mall cafeteria to satisfies the hunger pangs.
I choose a salad and pita wrap with lemon water. Kyna would be proud. She is forever telling me to eat healthier.
Excuse me if I fail to see any nutritious value in something I cannot pronounce or stand to look at. What is ‘tempeh’ anyway?
My watch beeps and I check it to realize I have twenty minutes to be home.
Twenty-three minutes later I am standing in the doorway of our house, alone. A haunting foreign melody is playing softly, a mood settling itself.
I close and bolt the door, still carrying my shopping bounty. I know better than to set it down, unattended.
Checking the kitchen, bedroom and office, prove to be fruitless as I find all empty as a matter of course.
I am wondering if I should page her when I hear a quiet grunt. Followed by another and another and yet another.
The gym. Of course.
I look to my left to see the door partially open. She must have seen me pass several times.
Knocking twice, I push the door open to see my lovely wife kicking a punching bag with every ounce of frustration she can muster.
There is nothing but the sound of rhythmic grunts and whacks as she kicks consistently in the same target space for the new few minutes.
I wonder if the captain called. Judging by the weight and size of the bag, I think it must be something big.
Kyna never takes calls or jobs on her birthday or mine and definitely not on our anniversary. The Chief must have pulled more strings than he had to get hold of her.
“Happy anniversary.” I say, handing her a towel and the bags in the same armful. “What did you sign us up for this time?”
Her expression shifts from annoyed to contrite and touched with worry. “I’m getting predictable.”
“And if you weren’t about this particular thing, I’d be worried.” I reply, taking the towel and tugging at the bags to remind her to explore them.
“Ballroom dancing.” She says, setting the bags on the exercise bench, zeroing in on the nearest one.
“Dancing?” I cannot keep my voice even or my expression blank when she grins mischievously.
“No. Tae kwon do. We start on Tuesday.” She draws the new running suit from the bag. A faint smile lingers as she digs through plastic sacks.
A pound of her favorite chocolate truffles, a new pair of bedroom slippers, a coffee mug reading “World’s Best Wife” and her new monogrammed holster.
Everything else is forgotten as she tries it on, checking length and comfort in the mirror.
I help myself to the truffles and wait. It isn’t long.
She hugs me from behind and kisses my cheek. “Happy Anniversary, love.”
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