Wednesday, June 11, 2008


One of the best things about being married to a writer is stories about you, or featuring you, or that feature a little inside joke that only you know about. LB wrote me this story for my birthday, and I thought that I'd share. In case you're wondering, he calls me Tex.

Tex's Picnic

She didn't care for the blindfold. Despite her many hints and explicit requests to be surprised, even just once, the blindfold reversed the intended anticipation. It was unnecessary, she might have gone so far as to say over the top. She was reasonably confident of their destination. Left to his own devices, he could be trusted to return to something or somewhere that she had either planned or proposed originally. The car had been on the Queensway for only long enough to have gone three or four exits. She couldn't be certain of the direction but she inferred the drastically slowed pace to be his search for a Glebe parking space.

"I'll be around to help you out in a second Tex."

He closed the car door harder than his wife would have liked. It rattled for a short time after the thud that had made them each wince. The problem he now encountered had occurred to him even before parking the car. He couldn't have her walk down the street blindfolded but he also couldn't admit it yet. She turned to the soft hydraulic sound of the trunk door opening and she rubbed her eyes through the blindfold, allowing the leaching sun to brighten her blindness.

"I'll just be a second," he called. "I'm sorry."

When he opened her door, she immediately swung her legs free. Like an escapee or a miner she wanted to stand but he didn't back away. He kissed her lightly on the nose and his thumbs brushed the soft skin over her cheekbones as he reached for the knot at the back of her head. She felt the tug in her neck but the dish towel fell away and returned to being just that. The rest of the world flooded back as if it had been gone much longer than twelve minutes. She was taken by surprise and blinked a couple orange blinks before her eyes adjusted. Blindness is said to heighten the other senses but it seemed that blindfoldedness had the reverse effect.

"A picnic," she half-screamed, having spotted the basket he had bought for her so long ago. He had its contents covered with a red and white checked blanket but it seemed to be bulging more than the two of them should eat.

"That's right," he replied, crossing the line from fun to smug, "I finally made you the picnic that I promised."

"Yeah, well at least you got the emphasis right."

"Love you," he replied, full of cheer. He followed a grin with a peck.

She can't help but chuckle as he is quietly dodged by a pedestrian he failed to see. It seemed like a dance as he turned too late and was fortunate in his spinning to lose neither their picnic nor his footing. Somehow he gave the impression that nothing happened. Standing, she accepted his offered elbow and they began to walk along the sidewalk as lady and gentleman. In their minds they wore a bowler hat and hoop skirt. Given a parasol, she would have made an excellent model for Monet. She was gracefully and demurely chesty in a way that both tempted him towards and chastised him against public groping.

Their walk was brief and brisk but there was time for the day to embrace them. He felt the little beads of sweat gather like cliques in the schoolyard, along his spine and in the backs of his joints. Her red came out as well, blushing her face and arms. The urge to lift his cap and wipe the sweat rose and then receded as he decided instead to keep her arm. At Bank Street the city intruded and they each wondered how the odour and din of slinking traffic didn't bleed off the main artery. Less than half a block later, he steered her down into the park. The scene of past disappointments was to be rehabilitated. She had already jumped ahead to this part but her smile was still genuine. He saw the light in her eyes and it made him smile also.

Halfway down the chipped stone stairs, her face lit up. He leaned close to her and whispered "surprise" almost simply as an exhale. He then nibbled her ear and whispered three single syllables to her. The gathered friends and family applauded, some yelling encouragement, as she hid her moistened eyes against his chest in the disguise of a hug. He relished even the way their skin shared a clammy stickiness where bare arms touched. After several seconds he shifted forward on the stair. She gave him a little tap and he unwrapped her for the guests below. As she scanned the crowd, she greeted each face by telling herself anecdotes of how each would've come to be there.

"I couldn't think of a better way to say I love you," he shared with her, "than to con all the other people who love you into doing it for me. Happy birthday."

{And of course, this is original content, not to be posted without proper attribution}

1 comment:

La Belette Rouge said...

What a lovely present. His love for you sparkles in his prose.