It was our wedding anniversary on Friday and inevitably, after twenty-plus long years together, the standard of the old man’s gifts and romantic gestures have diminished with time.
In the first few years of our marriage, I might be treated to dinner, flowers AND a card, perhaps even a meal cooked by him; these days it’s a card if I’m lucky.
Fortunately, I’m not a sentimentalist and I didn’t marry the old man for his romantic gestures. And to be honest, I’d grown a tad tired of the sad-looking, funereal bunches of white lilies that I told him I liked, ONCE, circa 1990, and which he has bought me ever since.
So this year I decided to fess up.
Because, as the healthy glow of my once youthful skin fades to a dull middle-aged pallor, I find that I like more color in my life these days, so for the past year or so, brightly-colored roses have held far more appeal. They also happen to accessorize very pleasingly with the more funky design scheme in our apartment which I based around a piece of Aboriginal art I found on Ebay, and which kills my OCD a little bit more each day because the people who stretched and strung the canvas, did it the wrong way.
That fucking artwork taunts me on a daily basis.
Which is why, rather than be disappointed by last week’s withered lilies from the local petrol station, I decided to take control, buy my own bouquet and then get the old man to come up with the dosh.
Perhaps that sounds as though I’ve given up or given in, but considering I don’t buy anything for him in return for our anniversary and I preach ‘equality’ to the kids, I don’t have a problem with it. It seemed like the obvious solution. Romance comes in different forms and the old man’s talent in that department does not lie in gifting.
When I went to the florist to pick my flowers and explained the situation to her, it was quite obvious that she was appalled. She asked me if the old man had ever been romantic and it only took me a few seconds to respond with an unequivocal ‘no’. ‘Oh’, she responded with appropriate sad face, unable to disguise the traces of pity in her voice – at which point I hoped that she might throw in the extra greenery I’d requested without charging the exorbitant $5 for what was effectively a couple of manky old leaves.
‘But it’s not all bad,’ I responded, rearing in defence of my soul-mate of twenty-two years. ‘He still makes me laugh, and he’s a great cuddler.’
‘Then you’re got yourself a good man,’ she said, wisely, and I realized she was right and skipped out of the shop, hugging my new, favourite flowers and for a few precious seconds I might even have walked on air.