Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Ohhh…. (02/04/10)
- TITLE: Sapphire Surprise
By Donna Powers
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Her pencil stopped in the middle of a word and she took a deep, measured breath. “Mark, did you forget about Friday?” she sighed. Her voice had that tone she gets; when I put wet towels in the hamper, or leave the toilet seat up. “Please tell me you haven’t forgotten about Friday.”
My brain scrambled over a host of possibilities. Her birthday? Our anniversary? Whatever it was; I knew I’d forgotten – and it wasn’t the first time.
I’ve never been good with remembering dates. I’m not the kind of guy, who automatically knows the date of the day we met, or my hamster’s birthday, or the dates of most holidays. Trudy has been frustrated by this since we met, and I’ve promised her a thousand times I’d write down important dates. Despite this, my memory often fails me. I hated the thought of disappointing Trudy again, so I pretended to remember.
“No, I didn’t forget,” I hedged. “I just thought it might be OK to go with Joey, on Friday. Can we rearrange our plans?”
Trudy’s eyes looked stunned and hurt. “Well, I wouldn’t think you’d want to postpone this.” She sighed again. “Do you want to postpone it, Mark?”
I knew I was defeated. If this Friday was so important to her, I’d better make it just as important, for me. I assured her I didn’t want to postpone it and apologized for suggesting it. I called Joey and told him to find another bowler. That placated Trudy; she went back to her crossword puzzle.
Then, I tried to find out why Friday was so special. I’ve tried hard to write down important dates, but there was nothing on my personal calendar. In desperation, I peeked on Trudy’s personal calendar; in Friday’s square she’d drawn a little heart shape, with the notation “dinner at Ballard’s.” OK; I still didn’t know why Friday was so important, but I didn’t want to miss a dinner at Ballard’s.
As Friday approached, I kept going over it in my mind. I really didn’t want to let Trudy down, and the choice of Ballard’s was a bit unusual. Trudy and I went to dinner at least twice a month, but we usually opted for a less pricey place than Ballard’s. So… it probably wasn’t just a routine dinner. Maybe there was a special date I’d forgotten. If the occasion was special enough to warrant a dinner at Ballard’s, I knew I should probably buy Trudy a present.
So, on Friday, I picked out some lovely sapphire earrings. They’d match her beautiful blue eyes, and they’d be appropriate for almost any occasion. I drove to the restaurant, feeling pretty good. I was going to one of my favorite restaurants. I was going to have dinner with my wife, give her a beautiful present, and convince her I hadn’t forgotten whatever this occasion was; (even though I really had forgotten it.)
When I got to our table, she was smiling and looked beautiful. I smiled back and handed her the wrapped jewelry box.
Her smile stopped, and she looked confused. “What’s this for?” she asked.
I tried to confabulate: “It’s in honor of tonight’s special occasion.”
“Of course, it is. I couldn’t let an occasion like this go by; without showing you how special you are to me.”
She still looked confused, but she opened the box. She was dumbfounded when she saw the earrings. “Mark… why?”
I knew I was sinking fast, but…“It’s like I said, Trudy… this special occasion calls for a special gift.”
I could tell she liked the earrings, but after a minute, she got that “wet towel” look, again. “Oh, Mark, you really did forget what tonight is about, didn’t you?”
OK… I’d tried; but I knew I was busted. I admitted it; hoping she’d be merciful.
Her smile was rueful. “Oh, Mark… I love the earrings. And, I do agree this day calls for a gift.”
She reached down under her seat, picked up a wrapped box, and handed it to me. “The gift should be for you, silly,” she said, with that same smile. “After all… it’s YOUR birthday.”
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