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Intro
It’s a special day for Brendan and his wife, Cynthia – their wedding anniversary. What do you give a woman you love so much and have been married to for 18 years? Let’s see Brendan’s curious answer to that question and the unexpected teething problem he faces in getting the gift.

AN ANNIVERSARY GIFT (I)

Brendan seemed to be scribbling endlessly that Monday morning. Not a good way to start the week but business was slow anyway and he was the boss. Besides, what he was doing was serious business too. It’s not everyday that you celebrate your wedding anniversary and he was determined to design a card with a heartfelt message for his sweetheart, Cynthia. It wasn’t the design part that was his problem ’cause he had recently mastered Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. It was the message part that was proving unbelievably difficult. All he wanted was to compose short lyrical verse, a few couplets, perhaps, or just one quatrain.

Although he had never attempted this kind of writing, he prided himself on having a good ear and had thought it would be a piece of cake. But the trash can beside him was already half-full and he was feeling the beginnings of a headache. He wanted to write verse that rhymed but even with two dictionaries at his disposal, the results sounded lame and even imbecilic. What 45-year-old man says something like:

You are my beautiful lass
You make me happy like laughing gas,

he asked himself. Maybe if they were teenagers, that would do. But now, he couldn’t imagine himself spouting that kind of stuff, sounding like a wannabe hiphop star.

He wanted something more profound, something that summarised their marital journey of eighteen years and captured the depth of his feelings for his wife. He wondered if it was even possible to encapsulate all that in a few lines of verse. His head was throbbing and he reached for some pain killers from his drawer. He downed them with bottled water from the fridge and decided to go out to pick a gift for his wife and a card from a book store to accompany it.

As he buttoned his jacket, his heart swelled with pride and joy. Theirs was a really good marriage, he reasoned, notwithstanding that they were both too busy to spend appreciable time together on most days, his wife a journalist and he running his own office equipment supply business after being booted out from the bank he had worked with since graduation two years back. Their marriage was blessed with two girls who were undergraduates in the US.

He informed his secretary of his mission and drove to his friend’s electronics dealership. He paid for the Apple laptop he’d spoken with him about on the phone earlier that morning and got two sales promotional gifts – a power bank and a flashlight. He had the lot beautifully wrapped, all the while congratulating himself for remembering this anniversary all by himself. In previous years, Cynthia made it a point to remind him. He really had no excuse with all his digital devices that he could have set alerts on. But he ran such a hectic schedule while he was with the bank that he never got round to setting those reminders and last year, he was consumed with getting his business off the ground. There is a lot to be said for being self-employed, he told himself.

At the bookshop, he got a card with a rainbow on the cover. The message read:

When I first said, “Hello” to you,
My skies were dull and gray;
But ever since I said, “I do,”
The rainbow’s come to stay!*

As he read the words again, he nodded in agreement. The message, though simple, was apt. It was as close as he could get to the story of their love. He first met Cynthia at a restaurant in his third year in the university. He had lost his only surviving parent, his mum, a month earlier and didn’t know how he would complete his studies. She came and said “Hello,” sat opposite him and simply asked, “Can we be friends?” As he hesitated, she added, “Please, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not usually this forward. But I’ve been watching you and something tells me that you need a friend.”

From there, they struck up a conversation that led him to unburden himself. A wholesome friendship followed and she helped him strategise on how to seek help from his extended family members. Through those plans, he realised just enough money to pay for his final-year expenses and the same day he got a job after youth service, he proposed to her. She really did help clear his skies and he was so grateful that they were still together and good friends after all these years.

As he drove back to the office, he imagined Cynthia’s excitement when he presents the gifts, especially since she had forgotten their anniversary herself, something she had never done in all their years of marriage. He planned how he would hold her hands, look into her eyes and recite the words in the card. He made a mental note to memorise them and rehearse so that he would render them in a very touching manner. He was definitely sure she would cry.

That was something he liked about his wife: she was soft-hearted and very easy to please, satisfied that he was faithful to her and took family responsibilities seriously, especially paying for their daughters to go to the best schools.

Some of the gifts he had given her over the years didn’t cost much but she cherished them and still had them all. He, well, you guessed right. He had too many things on his plate to be that sentimental. Those other gifts – a watch here, a few items of jewelry there, some bestseller novels and some clothes – none of them cost nearly as much as this laptop (300 grand) and she was impressed with them. So today, she would be wowed to the third power, especially since he did all this without any reminder from her. He just couldn’t stop praising himself!

-To be continued-
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2016
*This poem was first published as part of a story in my book, Feature Writing Simplified.

Back to my question earlier: what gift would you choose for the one you love on the anniversary of your special day?

The second part of the story is far from predictable. Be sure to read it too.

Follow edithohaja.com for more inspirational, educational and entertaining articles, poems, quotes and graphics.

You can also connect with me via my Facebook page (facebook.com/auntyedith), LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus and Instagram. Jesus is Lord!

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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.
Related  THE MATCHLESS LOVE OF GOD

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37 thoughts on “AN ANNIVERSARY GIFT (I): SHORT STORY

  1. acceptance of gifts depends on individual mindset as regard to this story, she loves and trust him. Nothing more!

  2. marriage that the love is always there is like a relationship that just got started never to be ended. writing is not as easy as people just grade it as seen in the story. we as human should be sensitive to who needs help…

  3. Don’t know what I will give on my anniversary. time will tell. but one thing I know is that I don’t know how to give gift or surprise anyone. this story is lovely, let’s see what his beloved wife has for him.

  4. A strong fact is stated here, that we should celebrate our loved ones everyday not just on special occasions and we learn everyday. even couples that have been married for more than 50 years are still learning as Brendan just did.

  5. Hmmmm, don’t really know what to say, but one thing I know for sure is the foundation on which they built dia relationship was firm(understanding, communication, trust, forgiveness and love) for them to still have this flame even after 18yrs.

  6. Wow what a love after many years and they still have this burning desire to make each other happy…
    Waiting on the completion

  7. is really hard to see this type of love these days. seriously, this is how marriage should be.because of the type of love that exist between them, the man will not think of cheating on his wife and at the same time the wife will not heat on her husband and all this will actually make their marriage perfect.

  8. This love is so strong oo. God pls locate me with this type of man na! Anyway it’s a good thing that their marriage is going well. For me i don’t really know the gift to get for my spouse on our anniversary day but till then shaa.

  9. What a lovely story special feeling, for a man and woman to appreciate each other for 18 year and they want to celebrate it with so much effort from the man. i mean he has been brainstorming to write something lovely and romantic.

  10. I love how the couple met in the university, they understand each other, am not saying they are the perfect couple on earth but this type of love is very rare these days although its exist.

  11. Knowing your partner’s likes and dislikes will go a long way in picking a gift for them. And personality determines gift, as for me, I can never say no to a beautiful bracelet.

  12. Can’t wait to see how this turns out. Did Cynthia really forget their anniversary? Will she be pleased with his gift? I want her to be pleased. I can practically feel how much Brenden loves his wife and wants to make her happy. Let me see if he succeeds or not. You definitely know how to keep your readers on the edges of their seats ma’am.

  13. Amazing story right there. It is so adorable when couples cherish their relationship. One could see and feel the happiness and excitement brenden feels towards their anniversary. Its a magical feeling. This just makes me to want to get married all of a sudden but certainly not i won’t, i ain’t ready yet. For me i feel like there is no gift other than increase love and care worth giving to appreciate your wife who has been with you through thick and thin. You can only increase you love towards her and keep making sure you are there for her always.

  14. Just as Brendan, every couple is still learning no matter the number of years you have spent in the marriage. When there is love in a marriage, its just like a relationship just started and never to be ended.

  15. Most of us has been in Brendan shoes, in a situation where we spend most times contemplating on what to write that will please our loved ones when they’re celebrating something like birthdays. Nonetheless, I wish most girls will be like Cynthia that will make the first move.

  16. Nice and captivating story. Many people dream for their marriage to be like this. Brendan is a really good husband taking his time to compose a letter for Cynthia. Also Cynthia is a wonderful wife for always appreciating whatever Brendan gives her. Their marriage portrays true love

  17. Just like Cynthia, I don’t forget any anniversary or something worth celebrating. Each celebration adds to the blossomed love and strengthens the friendship. Even though it’s a story, I hope their love lasts forever.

  18. Wow! That was incredible, I love this guy, he is creative and adoring in our society today some men have never appreciated their wife for once much more buying her gift but it depends the kind of wife you have, if she possess those qualities that make her admirable I think she deserve some appreciation. Cynthia has good qualities that made Brenda appreciate her so much.

  19. Cant wait to see the turn out. Brendan is a husband with quality. Could feel the way he loves Cynthia .lol. Their relationship is a strong one tho…

  20. Lol. See how happy the guy is that his wife didn’t remind me. Nna eh… marriage is sweet ohh when u have the right partner. I hope my own husband is reading this story and is keeping it in his heart for our future anniversary ohh. I don’t want to be reminding him ohhh.

  21. Their marriage is in its 18th year and they still celebrate it so wonderfully, its so nice of Brendan to remember their anniversary without his wife reminding him,she is going to be so happy, I know she’ll love the presents.

  22. awwww
    it’s sweet whatooth he’s trying to do. like am so in love with him right now. how many men would take out time to appreciate their wives like that? how many would putility so much thought into what they give their wives??? I just hope she appreciates it. else he should leave her and come and marry me biko

  23. Brendan is really a caring husband. He loves and respect his wife. He wants nothing else but for the wife to be happy. I hope she will cherish the gifts as usual.

  24. That’s very thoughtful of him to buy gift and make that special day memorable for his wife. Men are not good with that. Some don’t even remember their birthday not to talk of wedding anniversary. Moving to next episode can’t wait.

  25. I feel Brenda. That moment when you know words can’t express your love for her. Luckily he was able to come up with something. This is so lovely of him

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