Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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“I should think you’d remember the most important date in our relationship,” Wendy murmured, tears forming around the edges of her eyes. “You could have, at least, given me a card.”
Ben realized how badly he had hurt his wife. True, he wasn’t much for ceremony, but he should have known better. It had been less than a year after he met Wendy that he realized she was the one for him.
Wendy had been a math instructor in the same school where he taught computer science. They began dating, and as they did so, he discovered that she was a no-nonsense observer of holidays just as he was. It was a perfect match. So why was she complaining that he had not remembered their first wedding anniversary.
Women are different, he decided. A part of them says one thing but they really want something else. He was going to learn from this experience and not make the same mistake again.
But habits are strong. Ben would think about June 19 every so often, but most of the time, the date dwelt in the hinterlands of his brain. As the date drew near for his second anniversary, the fact that it wasn’t uppermost in his mind alarmed him. To avoid the horrible blunder of the year before he composed a short computer program that would remind him of the date every day from June 1 until the actual anniversary date. He tested the program to make sure it would work.
On June 1, when Ben started his computer, the screen simulated a brilliant explosion of sun-bright lights which quickly turned to a midnight blackness with stars streaking at the speed of light from the inner cores of galaxies to the outer edges of the universe. This spectacle was repeated several times after which the normal start-up procedure took over. Ben smiled There was no way he would experience this panoply and not remember the anniversary.
Day after day the display materialized June 2, June 3, June 4! The program was working splendidly! On the next day, Ben paid less attention to the message. After all, he knew what it was and what it meant. On the next, he paid even less attention. By the time June 10 arrived, Ben was accepting the message as part of the computer’s startup procedure.
Then, June 18! It was a Saturday. At the breakfast table, Wendy mentioned that she needed to pick up some things at the supermarket. It was important she do this, she declared. This started a train of thought in Ben’s psyche “Why important?” he wondered. The word, important, vibrated like a tuning fork in his being.
Important! Important! Suddenly, he stiffened as if struck by lightening. Tomorrow was indeed important! Tomorrow was June 19! “Fool!” he shouted inwardly to himself. How could he had forgotten the importance of June 19?
He needed to do something and he needed to do it quick! Otherwise, he was going to be in the kind of deep trouble that only a victim of a woman scorned could know!
Wendy had left the house taking the SUV. The only vehicle available was the bicycle. This would work! There was a florist on Sixth Avenue only a couple of blocks away. They sold cards. Ben decided to splurge and purchase a bouquet of flowers as well as a card. He wheeled the bike out of the garage, vaulted to the seat and sped to the shop. Broadly beaming, he stood the bike on its kick stand, hastened to the shop’s ornate door and entered. He made his way quickly to the card section.
Where were the anniversary cards? he wondered. Ah, there was the sign! The place was packed. Customers blocked his way. No matter, he bulldozed his way through and began perusing the cards. It was important he select an appropriate card!
Something made him turn toward the figure standing next to him. His eyes met those of the other person. They were familiar and so was the face! “Wendy!?” he managed to stammer as she gasped in like manner, “Ben!?”