Tis the Season of unselfish gifting
And times of love and uplifting
A young man got his true love a locket
Soon taken from him by a pickpocket
Perhaps karma for gifts gotten by grifting?
In response to Mind and Life Matters Limerick Poetry Challenge, Week 49, Satire.
Jerry’s head snaps back. “Jeez, honey, you think I drugged you? My own wife?” I see shock and hurt in his face. My mom and dad have their heads close together whispering to each other and then my mom is holding my dad’s arm and shaking her head slightly.
“Well, then, how exactly did I wake up in the backseat of a limo, all by myself, in this sundress and these? “ I look down and hold my foot out, momentarily distracted by the sparkly, strappy sandals. They are rather gorgeous. But no, I won’t be pacified by a little bling. I punch his arm again and he cringes dramatically. “You are SO not funny,” I hiss.
“Yeah, Jer,” pipes up his brother, Jack, “how’d she get here without waking up and changed into that dress? Sounds like something crazy happened.” He’s smiling cheerfully, happy to throw fuel on the fire.
The maître d’ is trying to get our attention and speaks to Jerry in a low murmur. Obviously they’d like us to move out of their entryway and into the little room in the back before everyone in the entire restaurant is staring at us. Or maybe our table is just ready. Jerry motions everyone to follow the maître d’ and still holding onto my hand he propels me forward with his other hand on my lower back. I stiffen instinctively so that he’s barely touching me.
“We are so not through talking about this,” I say. But I’m slightly mollified that there could be a reason for what happened, even if it means my husband is the biggest doofus ever. Or the most devious. As we walk toward the beautifully decorated room in the back, I can see that he’s put a lot of thought and effort into this day. There had better be a seriously sparkling gift involved, too. In a very elegant light blue box.
We take our seats and there are carafes of lovely red wine at each table. Jerry generously fills our glasses and proposes a toast to me and my 40th birthday — and many, many more. Everyone raises their glasses and the waiters begin bringing in plates of appetizers — mussels swimming in garlicky sauce, the restaurant’s famous bruschetta and baskets of warm crusty bread. I realize I’m starving and reach for a piece of bread to nibble on. Dinner is really lovely, all of my favorite dishes served family style, the platters and carafes of wine replenished often. I walk around to hug and thank all of our family and friends for coming and my sister whispers in my ear that she helped Jerry get me changed into the dress and sandals and into the limo. “You were so sound asleep that I was almost afraid you had overdosed on that sleeping pill, but Jerry said you’d be fine,” she laughs. “And you look great!” I smile at her and nod my thanks. Finally everyone has eaten their fill and the cake is cut and served. I stand and thank everyone for coming and get a big laugh when I tell them how truly surprised I was.
As we walk out through the now busy restaurant, everyone seems to be ignoring us and has gone back to their own dinners. Jerry leans down to whisper in my ear, “You really don’t remember taking that sleeping pill on the plane so that you could rest on the way home?” I do vaguely remember drinking something on the plane and maybe, but no, I just can’t really remember for sure. As we wait for the valet to bring the car around, Jerry puts his arms around me and pulls me into his embrace. His hands slides slowly from my waist up my back and he rubs between my shoulder blades. “Relax, baby,” he whispers. “Dinner was fun and I have one more surprise waiting at home.” His hand is now rubbing the back of my neck and his thumb unerringly finds the tiny little bump that is barely sore anymore. His thumb makes slow circles over the spot and I jerk my eyes to his. He smiles blandly at me. “Let’s just enjoy tonight, okay?”
JP is my 4 year old grandson. He and his mom and dad and their English bulldog lived with us for several months while their new house was being built. One of the best things about having them here was spending time talking with him. It makes me hopeful for the next generation. He is so wise and so much fun! You can find all my Me and JP stories here.
JP: Nana, want to play something?
Me: How about we we play with this farm sticker book?
JP: Sure, Nana. This is the mama cow and this one is the daddy cow.
Me: Well, I think you call the daddy cow a bull.
JP: No, this is a daddy cow cause he’s bigger.
Me: But do you see this pink bag under the cow? That’s called an udder.
JP: Yep, that’s where the cow gives us milk.
Me: That’s right, you are so smart! You squeeze there to get milk. And the mama cows give us milk.
JP: And you squeeze to get meat.
Me: Well, no, honey, just milk.
JP: Then how does the cow share his meat with us?
I look at my son, shades of deja vu, because years ago when he was 4 or so he asked me how animals protected their meat from hunters. I think he thought the cows stood in front of stacks of plastic wrapped steaks and ground beef at the grocery store.
Me: Let’s ask Daddy.
Daddy: His muscles, buddy. He shares his muscles.
JP: Want to see my muscles, Daddy?
Whew, crisis averted. I remember the day I found out where eggs came from and didn’t want to eat them for weeks. I still don’t like to think about it too much!
“Surprise,” I hear someone yelling in the distance, but the words don’t register. I fall into my husband’s arms, sobbing with relief, clinging to him as if my life depends on it. I think it might.
“Honey, honey, why are you crying?” he’s asking me inanely, a concerned smile on his handsome face. “You look beautiful.” “Wh—what?” I’m still so confused I can hardly form words. I reach to touch his face, still not sure what is happening. I think I seriously might be in shock. “Jerry, I need some water,” I whisper. My mouth is so dry I can hardly speak.
“Oh, sure, babe, hang on a minute, we’ll go inside,” he says. How can he be so calm? I’ve just been kidnapped and he’s acting like we’re going to a party. I look around and notice a small group of people smiling and clapping. What the hell? Jerry is gently pulling me along into the building and I’m pulling back against him. He turns and grasps my elbow with one hand, his other arm snaking around my waist. “Beth, what is it?” He’s sounding a little impatient with me and I look into his face, searching for answers.
“I’m not going with you until you tell me what’s going on.” I’m adamant now. Something feels wrong about this. I dig in and refuse to budge from my spot on the sidewalk. “Sweetheart, what’s the matter? Come on, you don’t want to spoil things, right?” He’s tugging me into the building now and I stumble along behind him, unable to stay put. I realize why I have that eerie sense of déjà vu. We’re at Bruschetta, my favorite Italian restaurant, and the faces of the crowd come into focus now. There’s my mom and dad, my sister and her husband, four of our friends and Jerry’s two brothers and their girlfriends. Again, what the hell?
“Surprise, surprise,” is echoing around us and I realize that this is a party and it’s for me. “Happy birthday,” yells my sister as she comes toward me with an enormous cake. My sister. The one I just spent a week with in Virginia Beach before flying home. For cripes sake, how long had I been passed out? I turn to Jerry in confusion. My birthday isn’t for three weeks yet. “My birthday isn’t for three weeks yet,” I point out weakly. “Well, you always say nothing surprises you and I wanted to prove you wrong,” he grins, pulling me into an enormous bear hug.
“So you drugged me and shoved me into a limo!?” I slap his arms away. “You ass! I was scared witless, I thought I’d been kidnapped!” My voice has risen and I know I’m causing a scene but at the moment, I could care less. “Are you insane, Jerry? Get away from me, I mean it.”
(To be continued)