By Dan Leicht
He stood in the center aisle of the supermarket, trying to find the right card to convey how he felt, but none of them seemed to fit his mood. He picked one up and read the cover, “Happy Anniversary,” he flipped to the inside, “Here’s to many more,” he placed it back into the rack and pulled another, “Happy Anniversary, Babe,” — “It’s been a bumpy ride but glad you’re sitting shotgun.” He rolled his eyes and let out a loud “Blegh” as he left the aisle.
“Something wrong?” asked the elderly woman serving sausage samples.
“It’s nothing, just looking for a card is all.”
“Can’t find the words? It can be tough. What kind of card?”
“Anniversary,” he replied.
“How long have you been together?”
“Four, but only one married.”
“Oh, that’s an important one,” she said, leaving her stand to walk over to the card display.
“It’s also a tough time for her, because well uhhh…”
“Go on,” she said.
“Her father passed away shortly after our wedding day.”
She cusped her hands over her mouth.
“I just want to make this anniversary a good one for her,” he said.
“May I suggest something? Get a card for a fiftieth anniversary, she’ll think it’s cute. Or make one. Of course, my husband got us a six-pack to split instead of a card on our first anniversary and we’ve been together fifty years.”
“Thanks for the tip, um.”
“Ben.” They shook hands. “I think I’ll put together a bouquet for her.”
“Don’t forget the six-pack on your way out.”
He pulled a sausage from a toothpick and nodded as he dropped it into the trash.
“What’s her favorite flower?” asked girl at the flower stand.
“Uhh, red ones,” he replied.
The girl smiled and grabbed half a dozen roses.
“These will look good alongside some white diasies.”
“Is that going to be fancy enough?”
“It’s the thought that counts right?” she replied, smiling.
He thanked her and tucked the roses under his arm. He began to walk towards the checkout line until a thought popped into his head. He walked to the back right of the supermarket and stood staring at another display. He made his selection and paid for his items.
He arrived home and placed the flowers in a vase, along with adding a small dash of sugar into the water.
“Oh, honey,” said his wife when she returned home from work. “These are beautiful.”
“I know this anniversary means a lot. I hope these help make it special. I have reservations at six, then thought we could have a few beers afterwards.”
“A few beers?”
“Check the fridge.”
She opened the refrigerator and gasped. Sitting on the middle wrack was a six-pack of her father’s favorite beer. She picked one up.
“He’d have one of these after work.” She looked over to him with a tear in her eye. “He’d come home and kneel down, waiting for us to come running to hug him. Sometimes,” she laughed, “we’d hide around the corner just to see how long he’d wait. ‘Oh Jesssssica,’ he’d say, waiting for my sister Rosaline and I. He’d wait and wait until we came over. After his hug he’d sit down with his beer and drag his hand through his hair. When he was almost done with it we’d ask, ‘How was your day?’ He’d turn to us and say ‘It waaas…rough!’ and then chase us around the house barking like a dog. We’d laugh until he’d catch and tickle us.” She ran over and hugged her husband.
“Thanks, Norma,” he whispered.