Now You Has Jazz
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Now You Has Jazz

Susan and Sam

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“A present? For me? Sam, you shouldn’t have!”

“I know, but I wanted to remind you how much I cared for you and how much this relationship means to me. I’d say that I’d be nowhere without you, but, as we both fully understand thanks to that temporal physics talk at the local college last summer, that’s impossible. I know this gift is just a token of my affection, but I was raised to overvalue tokens vis a vis their ability to demonstrate one’s affection for another, and I know you do too.”

“You know me so well, more than anyone else in the world, though, to be truthful, I’ve met such a small percentage of all of the people, so it is just a guess at the moment. I have to say that I’m surprised to receive a present and am not entirely sure what I’ve done to deserve this — I mean I have some ideas as I’ve done a lot of amazing things well worthy of both public and private recognition. What I mean to say is, thank you.”

“Of course, I so badly wanted to express my love for you, my sweet, within the narrow constraints of the law. I wanted to shower you with water first and then with gifts, but I remembered how poorly, and painfully that went last time, what with the sharpness of the gifts themselves and forcefulness of my showering. And then I settled on one single, tasteful gift to demonstrate my growing maturity as well as my ability to count to one.”

“I appreciate it so much, more than I could ever say, what with my burgeoning miming career and my near-debilitating selective mutism. The fact that someone, anyone loves me fills me with such warmness, almost like that of an above-average space heater, but not quite. On that note, we should move closer to our above-average space heater as I’m a bit cold.”

“Don’t wait another moment, my dear, and open it now. Open it as you’d open a door, just on a much smaller scale. Open it, my love, with a glee that others would reserve for a much larger gift. Open it like you were opening my heart, only without using any actual sharp implements like that one time when you were ‘sleepwalking’ and I just happened to be asleep shirtless nearby. Open it now!”

“Okay! Here goes! I’m so excited to see what your brain and heart and, to a much lesser degree, your liver, have determined would be the gift for me. The present that would lift my spirits and tug at my heartstrings and tickle my fancy. What have you determined I “need” or “want” or “won’t return first thing tomorrow when you are at work”? But I promise I won’t be disappointed unless something else happens to greatly disappoint me in the next few minutes, and then all bets are off, by which I mean, most bets are off as some betting has always been a part of who we are as a couple.”

“It’s moments like this, standing here in your front entryway wondering why you won’t invite me into at least your dining room or kitchen that remind me why I first fell in love with you. They remind me without shedding any light whatsoever on why I fell in love which I appreciate because I think the shedding of light is bad for the environment. I hope you love the present, just not quite as much as you love me, as that would get awkward.”

“A watch! I can’t believe you got me a watch, which says as much about your ability to surprise me as it does about my inability to believe things even when I can see them with my own eyes. I am stunned. A watch? A watch! Finally I can know what time it is by looking at, or near, my wrist which is something I’ve always wanted as my wrist has been underutilized for years now and all glances at it have been fairly mundane. As you know, I’ve always loved watches ever since that one harrowing day when I was 9 when my father left our family early one morning to go make watches only to confusingly return near dinner time, enjoy a hearty meal, go to sleep and then wake up the next morning to do the same. It turns out, as I discovered years later, that my father was a maker of fine watches, a fact my parents worked so hard to conceal from me for reasons they also worked hard to conceal from me, until I caught them in the act of concealing and my whole world changed forever.”

“That change, though upsetting for you, also led you to me, and for that I’m forever grateful. How you found me, I’ve never been quite sure as I was hiding at the time, but find me you did. I’m also grateful that you didn’t run away when we first met, mostly due to the large amount of industrial strength glue I’d poured on the ground just before you arrived and also due to the deep connection we felt right away. From that moment on, I’ve worshipped the ground you’ve walked on, which is quite the full time activity as you refuse to stay in one spot for more than five, ten minutes at a time. But, you must tell me, Susan, do you like the watch?”

“I love it, Sam. It’s like you’ve read my mind, my innermost thoughts, my private blog protected with a password that clearly needs updating. How I’ve dreamed of this moment. Me standing here, you leaning against that wall, the time being 3:30pm, a light drizzle outside, you giving me something that could tell time, but the dream always was unclear about exactly what and that caused me to wake bawling my eyes out. I also dreamed once of owning a chicken farm, but that isn’t important right now, unless, of course, you plan to surprise me with a chicken farm in a few minutes as well.”

“Sorry, my sweet, only a watch today, but tomorrow, the world, which, hopefully, is being received as obviously an expression considering the current state of my bank account which has a watch-shaped hole in it. And now, with this watch, we can spend seconds, minutes and hours bravely and brashly telling time together, arm-in-arm and hand-in-hand, as well as leg-in-leg if we are feeling particularly limber and have time to kill. Not that we will actually kill the time as it is really challenging to kill a somewhat-abstract concept with our level of education.”

“As I told you after our ill-conceived, non-romantic date to the animal hospital— I, for one, thought they were being facetious — that I would tell time with you for the rest of our lives. This watch now makes that significantly easier and more convenient. I can’t stop looking at it, mostly because you won’t stop thrusting it in my face and my doctor advised me to “blink less”. It’s so shiny and I’ve always loved shiny objects ever since I promised my slightly-odd great aunt that I would.”

“It’s like my mother used to tell me when I left for school each day ‘it’s time for a bath now, son’ in her overly cryptic, yet infinitely loving manner with which she conducted her family as if at the helm of a symphony, which we repeatedly told her she wasn’t to no avail. That anecdote was also purposely cryptic, yet loving, as I am trying to, against her will, honour her legacy. I know it’s crazy, but I told you that’s who I am when we first met — a cryptic, loving man with a cryptic, loving mother who may someday surprise you with a present that may possibly be a watch or a collection of antique staplers.”

“And now that man has actually bought me a watch, this watch. I wouldn’t have believed that I could love you more than I already did, but I do. I now think this is the ceiling for my love, but one never can tell what the heart can do, especially with my elementary-level understanding of human anatomy. All I know is that I am happy and owe that to you, Sam, you and this watch. Thank you so much. I love you.”

“And I love you, sweetie.”




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Tommy Paley

Tommy Paley

I write creative non-fiction, humorous and random short stories, unique and tasty recipes and fiction involving odd and funny relationships. I also love cheese.

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