Present perfect

Photo by Pam Wells ©2010

On the nineteenth day of birthday my wife explained to me…

Carl thought he must’ve done something bad. Here it was, April 12th, almost three weeks since his birthday, and still no gift from his wife. It was confusing but not without precedent. In 2004, they’d come up short at tax time. “The IRS took my birthday money,” he’d said. “Let’s hold off on the gift-giving ‘til we’re not so raked over the coals. How ‘bout a beer? Maybe some cake?”

Audrey knew she was a bad person. Here it was, April 12th, and she hadn’t given Carl his birthday present. At least she knew why, unlike that other time a couple of years ago. “The IRS took my birthday money,” Carl had said. “So let’s just forget about gifts this year and celebrate with barbecued chicken and cold beer and your delicious carrot cake.”

Late as it was, there would be a gift, despite Carl’s pointed remarks which tempted her to ditch the whole idea. She had struggled over which version of the gift to get, and had decided the base model would be suitable to blow Carl’s socks off. She’d waited in line under an umbrella to get it on the day it had come out. It was kind of fun, anyway, to be among the “early adopters.” Brought it home, put it in a drawer… and took it back. A cooler model would be coming out later in the month. And she didn’t want just to blow off Carl’s socks; she wanted to blow off his shoes, too.

… “Something I should mention, no, I didn’t cancel, yes, I’m still awaiting something you’re a-wanting, Lord, it’s not a Hummer, isn’t that a bummer, probably another twelve days and counting, eleven if we’re lucky, ten bucks says I’m betting you’ll never guess—“

“An iPad! Audrey, you got me an iPad? Forget the Hummer, this is—this is perfect, hon. You don’t have to get me another birthday present ever again. I mean it.”

“Patience is a drag, how ‘bout a beer, keep on your shirt, I’ll be signing for a delivery.”

©2010 Pam Wells


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