“Good morning, sweetheart. Happy Anniversary.” she said hugging him from behind, leaning onto him.
“Anniversary?” he looked up from the newspaper.
“You forgot, didn’t you?” her smile narrowed and so did her eyebrows.
“Our anniversary is not until next two months, honey.” He was ultra-cautious of remembering their marriage anniversary ever since he forgot it once and paid the price.
“Today is our First-Date anniversary.” She said.
It was ironic how what she nursed in obvious ways, he thought of as something obviously not to care for.
She fumed to the kitchen.
He followed her, “You know I am bad with dates. It doesn’t mean I don’t care or I don’t love you.”
“There! You said it. Care. You actually don’t care. How can someone be as insensitive as you for not caring about the little things which matter to me? I don’t want to talk to you. You are too callous.” She said and pretended to look for something in the fridge.
He silently went to the bedroom and returned with an old, creased white polythene bag. He placed it on the kitchen platform with the scratchy sound – loud enough to grab her attention.
“Now what is this crap?” she asked angrily.
“This is the crap that I have been hiding from you hoping I would never show it to you.” He said peeping and slipping a hand into the bag as a bunch of stuff shuffled inside.
She tried to steal a look. Before she asked any questions, he divulged.
“This little chit, what now seems blank, used to be the ticket of our first movie together – with time, the print on these papers fades away. This is the mouth freshener sachet from the restaurant where we first held hands.”
He continued, avoiding looking up into her eyes while she stared at him. He dug deeper in the bag.
“You said, I don’t remember our first date. Right? Well, this is the bill of our first date; a sandwich, a pizza and two cokes – mine regular, and diet for you.” He said without even looking at the bill.
“This is your handkerchief that I stole from your bag the day I realized I was in love with you. A cap of your lipstick was missing years ago, remember? Here it is. It was the lipstick you had on, when we had our first kiss. You threw away this empty perfume bottle; it was the fragrance that you were wearing when we made love for the first time!” a dab of moisture glanced from his eyes. She stood numb.
“This is the matchbox that I used when I surprised you with the candle light dinner at home on our first anniversary – inside, there are burnt matchsticks too.” He shook the matchbox; she heard teeny rattle.
“This is the toothpick from the dinner date when I proposed to you and you said Yes – the best day of my life! This tiny shampoo bottle – I sneaked it from the hotel room on our honeymoon.” he smiled to himself.
“This… This… And this. And also, this. All of this! These all are the pieces of you and me. The bits of us. These bits assemble like a jigsaw and make us what we are.” He said as he toppled the bag over and memories scattered on the kitchen platform.
He held her face, looked into her eyes and said, “While I was busy holding all of this close to my heart, if I have turned insensitive and failed to keep track of the dates, I am really sorry.”
Tears could not linger behind the weir of her eyes anymore. She set them free and hugged him the tightest ever; he kissed on her head.
Resting on his chest, she gazed blankly at the wrinkly first-date-bill as a drop of her tear rolled down her cheek and soaked his shirt.
Photo Credit: mikesween