Steve and I had a lovely trip to Key West last week. We’ve been often enough that we don’t waste a lot of time figuring out where things are. The many free maps available help to remind us of locations we’ve been to before. And we’ve tried so many great restaurants there that our challenge is deciding which ones to go to each day.
But the best part of any vacation is how much we laugh.
About our third day there, Steve looked pretty distressed and finally said, “I need to tell you two things. I know you’re going to be really mad about one, but I have to tell you both.”
“Okay.” I braced myself, unable to imagine what was so important. “Tell me the worst one first.”
He gulped. “I didn’t throw away the mouse in the kitchen drawer. I know you asked me to do it Sunday and I meant to and then I forgot.” He continued to grovel. “I am so sorry. I know it will smell to high heaven when we get home and I apologize.”
I shrugged. “No problem!” I assured him. “I threw it out myself.”
“You DID? I can’t believe it! And I’ve agonized for days about confessing to you.” For a moment it felt like he was condemning me, and then he realized how it sounded. “That’s great! I didn’t even know you could do that.” Of course he didn’t, because I usually ask him to do it. I can, I just don’t like to.
So we both got a good laugh out of it and he could relax.
“What was the other thing you had to tell me?” I asked.
“I have no idea,” he answered. “I got so overwrought about telling you about the mouse that I’ve forgotten the other thing.” And we could laugh again. Finally he remembered that he still needed some time to work on his Sunday sermon. Well, that wasn’t news. That’s always the case toward the end of the week and I never mind. I love to read when we’re on vacation, and that just allows me more reading time.
When we were in the Atlanta airport, Steve bought a 5-calorie drink he’d never tried before—Bai coconut enhanced water. He loved it, so when he saw it on a display at Kroger after we returned, he, after much debate, bought himself a couple, even though they were very expensive compared to the flavored water he usually drinks. (Think $2.50 each compared to six for a dollar.)
I’d been pondering what to get him for Valentine’s Day, and I decided that was what I should get. So after exercise class today I went to Kroger and asked about buying in quantity. Turns out they also sell it by the carton of six, so I bought two cartons. I bought a heavy-duty gift bag, brought them home, tucked tissue around them, and added my card for him. I was pleased at my purchase and couldn’t wait to surprise him in the morning. The perfect combination of something he could use up and something he wouldn’t spend on for himself.
When Steve came home later in the afternoon, he said, “Look what I found at Kroger!” And he drew out a carton of the same drinks I’d bought for him for Valentine’s Day.
I couldn’t help the look of disappointment on my face. All I could think was What can I get him for a gift between now and tomorrow morning?
“What?” he asked, his eyes widening in concern. “What have I done? This isn’t Valentine’s Day, is it? It’s tomorrow, isn’t it? I can tell I’ve done something awful, but I have no idea what it is!”
“No, you’ve done nothing wrong,” I said, and I hugged him and blinked away the tears. He hugged me and kept asking what he’d done wrong. “I’m just disappointed,” I whispered.
I ran upstairs, got his gift, and gave it to him. “Wait!” he said, even more puzzled. “Is this Valentine’s Day?”
“No, it isn’t,” I said, “but I want you to open this. You can wait till tomorrow to read the card.”
Hesitantly he removed the tissue to see the cartons identical to the one he’d just brought home. He kept reassuring me that it was a great gift and he loved it and—finally—we both could laugh about it. But my distress over a ruined surprise and his distress over distressing me about finished us both off.
I’m glad we both have a sense of humor. At least neither of us had sacrificed as in O’Henry’s “Gift of the Magi.” And he assured me he’d think of me with every gulp of that delicious coconut water.
And I can’t help but wonder why he is so fearful of upsetting me when I think I rarely get upset. Maybe I need to reevaluate my reactions to things. Or perhaps it’s just that he loves me so much he always wants to please me. Just last night he said, “Isn’t it great to be in love?” Yes, it certainly is.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!