It was early evening on the 13th, just another seemingly ordinary Thursday. I had just come from the bath when the car horn blared a few times to signal A’s coming. I heard Alphonse run as fast as his feet could carry him as he rushed to meet his dad in the garage. This was always Alphonse’s best time of the day; he loved welcoming his dad home with a great big hug (even as his eyes wander and look for presents of food). 🙂
I shook the water out of my hair and dressed hurriedly. As I stepped out of our bedroom, I was greeted by this sight:
He smiled broadly as he kissed me. Handing over the flowers to a stunned, still wet, and definitely unglamorous (at that moment) wife, he whispered “Happy Anniversary, honey.” Later, he would tell me that he had also taken the next day off to celebrate our wedding anniversary.
Seventeen years. My, how time flies.
I wasn’t expecting anything anymore, to be truthful. A and I celebrate two anniversaries every year, and with tough times looming overhead for many people, I didn’t bring up or remind him of this anniversary to save him the trouble of looking for gifts. If anything, the only gift I really wanted was to be able to spend an entire day with him, a rarity in these days of juggling a full workload and a demanding family, the latter being defined as mostly kids’ needs. And yet, after seventeen years, this man could still take my breath away and whip up the most amazing surprises.
At midnight, he handed me yet another gift, and throughout the next day, he kept handing me one after another. By early evening the next day, he had given me all these:
There were board games (pink!!!)- Monopoly, which is his favorite, and Game of Life, which is mine- and a Hello Kitty handbag with matching wallet, a HK iPod Nano 3rd gen case, and a special gift in that little gray box which he asked me to keep secret. That whole day, the 14th, was mine from sunrise to sunset, and he filled every waking hour with his many loving and thoughtful ways. I was a spoiled, spoiled wife. Actually, I still am.
The next week, when A left for a business trip, I filled my hours with backbreaking, physical labor to keep all thoughts away from our temporary separation. I varnished the kitchen island, scrubbed and painted walls, and finished cleaning up and furnishing Alphonse’s study room. Each night, I went to bed spent and tired, but sleep eluded my tired mind. It didn’t help that Alex had to stay at his grandma’s house while his dad was gone so they could bring him to school in his dad’s absence. I was lonely for my two boys, and Alphonse pined and mooned over his dad and big brother. (He waited every night till almost eleven in the garage for his dad’s car, poor baby.) Yet, we coped.
Instant messaging helped keep the homesickness at bay, as I worried and fret over both of them almost constantly. A called every day just to check on us at home. When his meetings went on breaks, he would log on and send me messages. As much as I wanted him to be home, I was proud, too, that he could explore different arenas of interaction and enjoy these multifaceted experiences. Besides, he looked absolutely divine in his business suit. 🙂
The homecoming was, as expected, one of the best days of my life. A and I have not been apart in many years as he usually passes up opportunities to travel overseas. Delighted, Alphonse and I smothered him with kisses and hugs, and for the first time in days, Alphonse laughed aloud at the sight of his dad.
And with this, the giftgiving continued as he opened his suitcase to reveal his crumpled clothes and hidden gifts inside.
I loved my Kitty Build A Bear Dolls! And look at all the cool things he bought! Kitty Bee now has a new sister, Kitty Snow, and this got me jumping up and down the bed! (A complained the other night that our bed is getting too cramped, with the Kitty babies sharing the bed with us. But he was smiling too.)
He also bought my favorite Crocs, the Celeste, and chocolates for the boys. The Kitty Nohohon is mine but Alphonse wants it badly.
Just the other night, before sleep, he handed me the last gift. “Happy Anniversary again, honey,” he said as he handed me my DS Lite. I looked inside to find this,
“How long does this anniversary last?” I asked him, stumped and absolutely awed at his ability to surprise me every day.
“How does forever sound?”
What does one say to that?
Thank you, A, for this life we share together. I am drowning in a downpour of your love, but don’t save me just yet.
I love you.