It was not his aim to hurt her feelings, it just always seemed to end up that way. Saying some off handed comment she perceived as a putdown, that he had only meant as a joke. Today it was no different. He bought flowers she loved, he just forgot to take the grocery store price tag off the bouquet.
She seemed pleased and the flowers eased the air a bit as he hurried to sit down to drink his nightly cocktail. He decided it might be a good idea to mute the news show he watched faithfully, just this once, but he still strained to watch it out of the corner of his eye. He felt he was trying hard to listen as she spoke to him of her job that day. She was a security guard at the hospital and it was not a very interesting topic for him.
As he studied her during a commercial, he realized she was no longer his dream woman, the one he fell for years ago. Now she looked weary, ordinary, seeming like she lost the sparkle he first saw in her eyes.
She loved he remembered to bring a gift, on this their twenty-second anniversary. She made his favorite roast beef and mashed potatoes. She greeted him with his favorite Manhattan, and hoped he noticed her new blouse. She was glad he turned the sound off the television, but wished she had his full attention. Disappointed, she checked on the roast, then came back to sit across from him.
He tried to listen to her day, but he was missing the interview he’d been looking forward to on the TV. He had been reminded by his secretary that it was his 22nd anniversary, had stopped to buy flowers, so didn’t he deserve to watch his favorite show?
She stopped trying to tell him about the near death experience she had at work that day, when a drug seeking man held her hostage for two hours while police were talking him down. She came home exhausted but knew this anniversary was important. Her husband had grown distant the last year and she realized it was time to renew their relationship. That’s why tonight was so important. She wanted to please him this night so he would know she still cared.
She left the room to make sure the table setting was perfect. Then returning, she decided to sit next to him. He immediately unmuted the television’s sound.