Friday morning I was greeted by the newly repaired church bells as I walked out to my car to drive to work. The air was crisp and clear, stirred only by tiny snowflakes in floaty descent. As I drove up the hill out of town, a small buck crossed the road in front of me. Watching him glide across the open fields, I thought smugly what a terrific blog entry this whole glorious morning was going to make. I was stirred from my reverie several moments later by the bleating of my phone indicating a text message. I pulled over to find it was from husband, thanking me for remembering his birthday before I left for work.
So I did what any reasonable person in my position would do: I lied, texting back that I simply hadn’t wanted to wake him. I even added some vaguely exasperated language (“Geesh!”) over his implication that I had forgotten. Where then was his card he asked in reply, and I knew there was no way out. I was busted and I paid for it in several further colorful exchanges of emails and texts, all of which had in common the phrase “self-centered, pathetic cow.” In my defense, I had taken him to Hamburg two weekends before as a birthday treat, but the truth was I had become a little work obsessive in the last week and had lost track of the actual day. I apologized unreservedly for the slip up and thanked my lucky stars that he had the Fat Boy annual Christmas lunch to attend that day to distract him from my misdeed.
Unlike me, the fat boys had not forgotten his birthday. They even produced a homemade chocolate cake at the end of the meal. As if that wasn’t enough to make me look bad, one of the fat boys proceeded to flambé the thing using only a hip flask of brandy, the open fire, and a ladle seemingly produced from his pocket. (He was an old Etonian. Go figure.) I arrived at the wine bar later in the evening to find the remnants of the Fat Boy lunch, including husband, mercifully softened by the day’s intake of drink. I was chided for my lapse, but by and large I appeared to be forgiven. Still, the birthday card I belatedly bought remains unopened where I left it on the kitchen ledge Friday night. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s still there on his next birthday.