I knew it was kind of a NAUGHTY thing to do. My only defense was it was our anniversary and we were broke. I thought and thought about what to do to surprise Drollery and finally came up with what I thought would be a perfect gift. I’d finagled a few bucks here and there from the grocery money over the last few weeks, then sneaked off to buy a certain something.
That Friday evening both the kids were gone to sleep over at friends’ houses. The roast was in the oven and would be done in an hour or so. I had the table set with the good china and candles. A bottle of wine was chilling in the ice bucket. Everything was ready for our 20th anniversary dinner. Now all I had to do was wait for Drollery to get home from work.
We were down to one car again, so Droll had been taking the bus to work and back. The bus he caught home was a late one (which, in April, meant it was still fairly dark when he got off) and there was hardly ever anyone on it. And no one else ever got off at his stop up by the highway. That night it was cold as hell and snowing, but I’d come this far and I wasn’t going to back out now. The only light there was in the Bingham Cyclery parking lot where I always waited, was the street light out by the curb.
At 6:30 I drove the mile up to the highway, parked in the lot, and sat there with the heater going waiting for the bus. Finally I heard the air brakes as it pulled up in front of the store. I could just see the headlights shining through the snow. I jumped out of the car and hurried up to the side of the building praying I wouldn’t fall on my keister in my high heels, and as the bus pulled away and I heard the snow crunch underfoot around the front of the building, I stepped away from the wall and threw my coat open.
Under it was the prettiest negligee I’d been able to afford, a preview of what was to come. With the biggest smile on my face I flashed the best “come hither” look I could muster between chattering teeth —— to a total stranger! (Followed closely by Lord Drollery who just looked dazed and confused.) I froze (pert near literally) in my tracks and just stood there like a bloomin’ idiot. The look on the man’s face was unreadable. I had never seen him before. My guess was he’d gotten off at the wrong stop. He didn’t smile, he didn’t frown. Looking straight ahead, he walked right past me and down the hill to the Smith’s store. (And let me tell you, that didn’t leave me with a lot of self-confidence!)
I didn’t say a word to Drollery. I pulled my coat tight around me and got into the passenger side of the car. Thank God it was still warm! For the life of me I can’t remember what, if anything, he said to me on the way home or how the rest of the evening went. Though I do recall he liked the nightie! (Which I still have, btw.) But whenever my family gets off on the topic of anniversaries, that’s one of the FIRST stories that usually gets pulled out of the family dirt bag! Scandalous!
(And here I bet you thought I was this prim and proper church lady, didn’t you!)