AN ANNIVERSARY GIFT (II): SHORT STORY

Intro
In the previous segment, the story stopped where Brendan had purchased what he considered a suitable wedding anniversary gift and was fantasising about how overwhelmingly pleased his wife will be with it. Let’s hurry and join them for what I’m sure will be a memorable evening no matter what …

AN ANNIVERSARY GIFT (II)

Brendan left the office by 4:30 p.m. He and Cynthia had the tradition of coming home by 6 p.m. on this their special day. He had ordered a special meal because he called her on his way and got a text message in response that said, “In a meeting.” When he got home, he decided to freshen up and listen to the news but by 7:30, he was getting impatient, so he placed the gifts on the centre table in the living room. That way she couldn’t miss them when she walked in. Not satisfied with that, he unwrapped them, standing the card atop the laptop, with the power bank and flashlight between its leaves. When he heard her driving in, he began to microwave the meal. This is going to be good, he thought.

Cynthia walked in with her shoulders drooped and leaned against the door for a minute or so. Then as she began to head for the stairs, Brendan came out of the kitchen, all cheerful, and stopped her.

“Not so fast, my love!” He spun her round and made her to face the centre table. “I believe those are for you.”

“What am I supposed to do? Dance?”

A strange question to ask on a day and occasion like this but Brendan wasn’t going to let this hint of unwarranted bellicosity stand in the way of his planned performance. So he led his wife close to the table and with a right hand flourish that took in the gifts, he said, “Happy anniversary, my darling!”

Her response was as sudden as it was unnerving.

“Why is it only on our anniversary that you buy me something special?” Ignoring the surprise on his face and raising her voice slightly, she continued.

“I’m still the same person the rest of the year. How come you don’t consider me special until this one day in the year? Just one freaking day out of three hundreeed and sixty-five!” She was screaming by the time she was through.

While he was shaking with disbelief, she marched away into the railings. Her bag dropped with the impact, scattering its contents. She hissed, sidestepped it, and went upstairs, leaving Brendan standing in the middle of the living room, confused. He staggered a few feet and collapsed into the nearest armchair.

“What did I do wrong for the life of me?” No, the problem was not with him, he concluded after reviewing what just happened, mentally.

“What in the world has come over my wife?” he wondered. That outburst … she had never talked to him like that before. Something else must be going on with her, he reasoned.

Cynthia’s job as a newspaper editor was stressful and didn’t even pay well, but she was good at it and felt she was making a valuable contribution to society. Left to him, she should just quit and do something else but he knew better than to make such a suggestion. Right now, her paper was being transferred to new owners and some reorganisation was afoot. He knew she was fretting about it even though they hadn’t really discussed it. He had heard from the grapevine, though, that the new owners had a subversive agenda and he had wondered how his scrupulous wife will fit into it. To make matters worse, her laptop had just crashed and she lost some files she hadn’t backed up. That informed his choice of an anniversary gift.

But she was not a stranger to work pressure. It didn’t seem like it was enough reason to make her snap like that. Nonetheless, he promised himself he would be more supportive of her from now. He knew that although she majored in communication studies and was a good listener, she had great difficulty sharing her problems even with him. She made herself available as a shoulder for others to cry on but she hardly ever did the crying herself. He just had to find more inventive ways of getting her to open up, he told himself.

Feeling comfortable in his decision, he went to switch off the microwave oven. Then he came to repack the contents of her bag at the foot of the stairs. There were the usual stuff – her phones, chargers, a small vanity case, pens, a jotter and her purse. There was also a white envelop with the logo of the company that recently bought her paper. He slung the bag over his left shoulder as he stood up and opened the envelop.

The moment he read the subject of the letter inside, “Relief from duty,” he gasped.

“Who titles such a letter like this, as if they are doing the receiver a favour?” he wondered.

He scanned the body to verify that it was outright cessation of employment and his fears were confirmed. There was something about inability to sustain the present staff strength, promise of a financial settlement, and “We wish you well in your future endeavours.”

“Oh my God!” he exclaimed, and slowly began to ascend the stairs. “My darling, my poor, poor darling!”

-The end-
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2016

What do you make of Cynthia’s conniption fit and Brendan’s handling of it?
May the Lord bless your marriage and make the love between you and your spouse to grow stronger with the passage of time in Jesus’ name.

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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.
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36 comments

  • chinyere Godwin

    Ma, I feel like Bredan was right wen he said his wife had a listening ear, but does not know how to express her feeling… like communication students r taught to listen, but not to express their feelings…something they call “bias”. So we bottle them up. I feel like it affects us..somehow..like Cynthia. Except for those who are naturally outspoken, then their problem would be “lack of objectivity “… thats a disadvantage

  • Edith Ohaja

    Bless you, Chinyere!

  • gee

    it was a good read ma.really had fun reading those stories.

  • oleru precious

    poor man that is not what he expected

  • wow. nice one ma. you don’t celebrate your loved ones only during special periods, you show them your un-dying love for them everyday the sun comes out and when it goes down and in that way you are sure you are re-kindling the love and building your home every blessed day.

  • Abonyi Juliet

    the end is quite touching.uhuhn!

  • Asogwa Emmanuel C.

    most time, love is not shown only by gift presentation but what the heart gives to each other

  • Oweka Chioma Sandra

    Cynthia should have reacted in a reasonable manner

  • Ugwu Amarachi Deborah

    love does not just manifest in gifts, but attitude

  • Mokogwu Josephine

    the story is amazing

  • Peace Rahman

    captivating story

  • EZEMA CHIDINMA GLORIA

    What a quit touching story.

  • Amadi victoria chinwendu

    cynthia was depressed because of the problem at work. But i think she should have acted better towards her husband

  • Soni-Onovo Ezinne Therry

    Wow, an interesting story. Thanks Aunty Edith.

  • Nweke Jemimah Chisom

    A big pity..it could have just happened on another day..why this day!

  • chika divine umunnakwe

    love is always and not just to be celebrated by lovers only on day of special event. the woman could not handled her pain while her husband who knew his wife attitude that day was unusual was able to endure and see reasons for her action. he did not react immediately, that is great from the man

  • Amedu blessing amarachi

    Bredan I believe is a real man

  • Florence onyekaozuru

    Really on such a special day she had to receive such news! her attitude is understandable and I love brendan’s response. although he was surprised he knew his wife well enough to know that something was not right, I enjoyed the story and from another point of view it just lets you know that marriage is not all bed of roses, sh#t happens

    • Edith Ohaja

      I like Brendan’s reaction too! He didn’t shout back. He sat down and tried to think the matter through. He did find out that something was seriously wrong.

  • Benjamin Thelma

    Hmmm. Started on a good foundation as earlier said, (understanding was really involved) that was why there were no outbursts. But getting such a letter on such a special day, not a good one. I won’t have acted anything less if I were in her shoes.

  • Nwagu Tochukwu

    That’s a bad ending…
    I feel for the man but it’s not the woman’s fault because Atimes our situations might overwhelm us

  • nwankwo gift nneamaka

    Seriously! of all days but today. it’s a pity though. Thank God she has a good husband who understands her very well. Brendan is a wise man and i love the way he handled the situation.

  • MOKOGWU JOSEPHINE

    I think they handled the situation calmly although it almost ruin their anniversary, for Brendan to prepared for their anniversary is something else, Cynthia was so unhappy because of her job.

  • MOKOGWU JOSEPHINE

    Brendan understands his wife unlike some persons who don’t care and will be angry , but he decided to find out what the issue is,I Think it’s a nice one, the story is interesting.

  • Kat

    Well,i definitely didn’t see that coming. I love the way Brenden handled her outburst. He knew something must have happened to her and he was correct. Wish every husband would be attuned to their wives feelings like that. I pray they sort things out. Wonderful story Aunty.

  • Onyeka Stanley

    Damn! Sometimes things don’t usually go the way we want them to go. We are like Cynthia or we have people like Cynthia in our lives who are there to comfort us but retreat to their shells to comfort themselves. God will help us. Thanks for this piece ma’am

  • Chinedu stanley

    I don’t blame Cynthia for her actions, her mind was really going through a lot the moment she was fired. I also love the way Brandon handled the situation knowing fully well that not all that goes on as planned in life. Brandon is a sensitive husband for understanding that all wasn’t well with Cynthia when she replied him. Brandon is a typical example of a good husband who understands his wife and a lot of women pray for this type of husband. Thank u so much man for this story. It was lovely

  • It is good for couple to understand each other, if not that Brendan understands her wife, he would have take her action offensive but knowing she does n’t behave that way normally he decide to find out what the problem is and behold his fears were confirmed to be true that something was wrong somewhere.

  • Chah ugochukwu

    Please God bless me with a husband like this ??. Some one that will excuse u even when u act badly. Someone that’s willing to over look certain things. Someone that sympathises with u. Some one that loves u.
    I feel that although Cynthia wasn’t right in snapping at her husband in that manner, it was understandable. She would have instead come home explain what happened and cry. But people are different. Him on the other hand handled the situation well. I think all couples should learn from him

  • Adumike Winifred Munachimso

    Cynthia’s outbursts were only misplaced aggressions.It hurts so much to be laid off especially in a place one has worked very hard with all dedication.
    I believe she will appreciate the gifts when she is calm.

  • Godwin Grace

    oh God. I understand the reasons for her anger and I am so glad brendan did. am so glad he didn’t take offense and retaliate. that is real love. but although she has a right to be angry and fustrated she wasn’t supposed to pour it out on someone trying to please u. it’s a bad behaviour. let’s hope that if it were in real life she would later on apologise

  • Ezeh Onyekachukwu C

    I was amazed. Cynthia that have always cherished the gifts her husband have always showered her with this past years suddenly turned aggressive. Well am glad that Brendan is a gentle man who carefully investigated and found out that the wife was in pain.

  • Omaga Chiagozie

    I know that something is Amist for someone who cherishes little gift to react that way is not ordinary and thank God for Brendan understanding and the decision he made to support her wife no matter what may. He is a sweet husband.

  • Ejiofor Emmanuel

    I love the way Bredan handled the whole situation. He didn’t react to his wife anger. That’s wise of him. His wife is also right in what she said even though it was obvious that the letter was the main reason for her upset

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