1/29/2010

Faculty Meeting Friday Fiction

While I'm sitting here listening to a choppy, rah-rah infused faculty meeting, I thought I'd play around with this week's writing prompt.

For the last 9 years, a wife has forgotten her husband's birthday. The 10th time, he snaps.

"Morning, honey." John tried to catch his wife's eyes in the mirror as he stood at the sink, shaving.

Melissa rubbed her eyes and grunted, heading for the shower.

He sighed quietly and returned to shaving, watching her with one eye as she spun the hot water to full then stepped in as steam began to billow. Shaking his head, he rinsed his face and went back into the bedroom to dress.

Twenty minutes later, he sat with his laptop and a mug of coffee at the kitchen table when Melissa rushed in and bee-lined for the coffee maker. She stopped and frowned at the empty pot then glanced at his mug curiously, "John?"

"Hmm?" He didn't look up but deliberately sipped from his coffee.

"Didn't you make me any coffee?"

John raised his eyebrows and feigned surprise, "Oh, sorry. No, I must've forgotten."

Melissa grumbled and checked her watch, "Guess I'll stop somewhere on my way in." She paused to glare at him for a minute, "I'm not sure how you forget that I like coffee too."

John shrugged and sipped his coffee again, "Things get forgotten, you know?"

Muttering under her breath, Melissa gathered the rest of her stuff and headed to her car, barely resisting slamming the garage door behind her. When she'd left, John allowed himself the wry smile he'd been hoarding and pushed away from the table and headed back upstairs. With efficient motions, he pulled his suitcase out of the closet and began to pack.

He got to the airport just after ten A.M. and paused to look at the departures screen. "Hmm. Snow or beach?" He muttered. With a scant pause he decided, "Snow. Melissa always wants to go to the beach. I can't remember the last time we went somewhere I actually was interested in." With that in mind, John checked the departure screen again then headed toward a ticketing desk.

He flashed the ticketing agent a charming smile, "Is there any room on the noon flight to Switzerland still?"

"Let me check, sir." The young woman whose nametag declared her to be Judy, tapped efficiently at her keyboard. "We have two seats left in first class, sir."

"Sounds perfect. I'd like one of them, please." He slid his passport and American Express across the counter to her.

"Certainly." She began typing efficiently yet again. "Would you like to book a return flight now?"

John paused, "Let's leave it open."

She nodded once and continued typing. "Luggage?"

"Just carry on."

"Alright, sir." She reached down and retrieved the tickets from the printer, "Here are your tickets and boarding passes. You're all checked in. You'll depart at noon with an hour layover in Boston, and arrive in Switzerland around 8 this evening, local time." She paused to check her screen, "You depart from gate C-15, which is down this hall," she pointed, "through security, then left. Have a good trip."

John smiled and collected his documents, "Thanks. I plan to." He made his way easily through security and found a seat to wait for boarding. As he sat, he pulled out his phone and booked a room hotel at a luxury ski resort that allowed him to schedule airport pick up. Then he spent some time dealing with email from work.

He chuckled as he saw an email from Melissa.

John, don't forget that we're watching the beasts tonight for Dan and Kathy. You'll need to pick them up from school as I've got a late meeting. -M

He shook his head and typed a response:

Melissa, Wish you'd mentioned that when you agreed to it. I can't do pick up, have a late meeting myself. Sure you'll figure something out. -J

Before he could dwell on just how annoyed she was going to be, the gate agent called first class boarding and he slid his phone away and meandered down the jetway.

The flight was uneventful, almost pleasant. He mentioned to the flight attendant that it was his birthday and they were able to scare up a cupcake and unlit candle to go with the champagne he'd already requested. The transport was waiting as he got off the plane and, on arriving at the lodge, he realized he'd landed truly in the lap of luxury.

Deciding on a late supper, he took some time to settle into his room and check his voice and email, his grin growing at the successively annoyed messages from Melissa. As he contemplated calling back, his phone rang.

"Hi honey."

"What is going on, John? We had commitments tonight that I had to take care of on my own. What are you thinking?"

"I'm fine, thanks for asking."

"I didn't ask - could you please answer my question? And then you can just get yourself home - late meeting my aunt Marge...what's going on?"

"Ah, now it's a shame you didn't ask. I'm afraid I'm out of town for a week, possibly two."

"What? Why on earth didn't you tell me?"

"I put it in your planner, honey."

He heard her flipping pages and the pause as she saw his reminders leading up to his birthday, with suggestions of trips they could take to celebrate this milestone year.

"I'll be home after my vacation. Unless, of course, I forget."

1 comment:

Lynellen said...

Happy birthday next month, beth!
Dont want to forget.