Staff writer Dallas Fitzgerald shares the story of his first wedding anniversary.
On Monday, my wife and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. After a hectic week, which included wicked New Year’s Day hangovers for both of us and a major family crisis that caused her to spend Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday in St. Paul, we were both looking forward to a nice, relaxing evening of dinner and romance.
We had received a gift card to the Cheesecake Factory for Christmas, so we decided to use it. We got in the car, and as we pulled out of the driveway and started to accelerate down the road, the car started shaking, and I knew we had just shredded the transmission. We pulled into a gas station and headed back home.
As I drove the impotent vehicle back to our apartment, I did what any self-respecting male would do: I screamed every swear word I could think of, pounded on the steering wheel like an angry chimpanzee and told my wife to put on her seatbelt because I was going to drive the piece of shit car into a telephone pole.
When we got back to the apartment, I got out of the car in a fury and slammed the door shut as hard as I could. Then I opened the back door just so I could slam it shut even harder. I finished by spitting on the window and kicking the car until I had put a golf-ball sized dent in the driver’s-side door. Then, I was done.
I followed my wife into the apartment where she informed me that she wasn’t going anywhere with me if I was going to act crazy all night. By this time, I had settled down a bit and was merely pacing back and forth in our living room. My wife proceeded to tell me that we would take the car in on Tuesday and that everything would be fine. Her reassuring words caused me to come back to baseline, and I told her that I was sorry for the blow-up and was ready to go eat because by this time I was starving.
We went to the restaurant and had a nice dinner despite the screaming child sitting right next to us. On any other day, the crying baby might have annoyed me to the point of requesting a different table, but I had expended all my negative energy cursing and kicking the car and figured this was the universe punishing me for my tantrum, so I just accepted it and enjoyed my meal.
After dinner, we had to stop at Wal-Mart for a few things—groceries, Q-tips, pillows and toilet paper. As we were walking through the store, we passed the greeting card aisle, and my wife looked at me and exclaimed, “Oh my God! We didn’t even get each other anniversary cards!”
It was true. The past week had been so busy that we had both forgotten to get anniversary cards for each other.
“I have an idea,” I replied. “Let’s each pick out an anniversary card, and we can give them to each other and read them right here in the store. I mean, think about it, we would only read them once and throw them away anyway, right?”
She agreed, and we both started shuffling through anniversary cards. My wife found a card for me first; I was still searching.
“Hey no peeking!” she pulled the card close to her body, protecting it from my furtive glances.
Finally, I found a card for her.
“Happy anniversary, sweetheart,” I said, handing her the card that I had chosen.
“Happy anniversary,” she replied, handing me the one that she had found.
Then, we both stood there in the middle of Wal-Mart, reading our anniversary cards, which we had no intention of paying for.
“Awwww, that’s sweet,” she said after reading the card I had given to her.
“Yours is nice too,” I replied.
“Well, look at the bright side,” she said, taking both cards in her hands and turning them over to look at their prices. “We saved twelve bucks.”
“Yup,” I responded, “And instead of throwing them away, we can put them back on the shelf for someone else to purchase.”
She inspected the card rack, trying to find where each card came from. When she did, she tucked them nicely back amongst their clones. Then, glancing around to make sure that no one was looking, she pulled me close to her.
“I love you,” she said softly.
“I love you too,” I replied, and we shared a semi-passionate anniversary kiss in the middle of Wal-Mart’s greeting card aisle.
When we got home from Wal-Mart, we were both pretty tired, and she had to work early on Tuesday morning, so we put on our pajamas and went into the bedroom to watch TV before falling asleep.
“I think we should make that anniversary card thing a tradition. Every year, for our anniversary, we should go to Wal-Mart and pick out cards for each other, read them right there and put them back,” I suggested.
“That sounds like a good idea,” she replied. “But you know what else we should make a tradition?”
“What?” I asked, looking into her suddenly lascivious brown eyes and already knowing the answer.
She gracefully rolled over on top of me and started straddling me.
“Hmmmm,” I said. “That sounds good too.”
A night that began with angry passion ended with a very different sort of passion, and as we lay in the bed naked, I looked over at her and said, “That turned out to be a happy anniversary after all.”