Michela Walters’s Picture Choice: Both
Title: Thanksgiving Gratitude
The heat wafted down between the buildings, providing them just enough warmth and sunlight to get a little vitamin D. It was late November and Stan and I were enjoying the unusual warm front by laying out in the lawn chairs we’d long put away.
“We going to put that bird in, or what?” Stan’s grumpy voice echoed beside me, the buildings eventually swallowing up the sound.
I leaned up on my arm, examining my husband of more than forty years wondering where the time had gone. We’d been deeply in love once, but years pass and now we’d drifted to being merely comfortable with one another, the passion fleeting along with our youth. It was Thanksgiving and instead of trekking to the mountains to visit our kids this year, we decided to stay in our highrise senior condo wanting to avoid the travel stress. This left my prickly husband grumbling about when I was going to have dinner ready.
Realizing I hadn’t responded, he opened one eye, asking, “Well?”
“Gee honey, when you ask so nicely, I can’t wait to get in the kitchen.” I knew I was dragging my heels getting dinner going, but I missed my family. Now that the holiday was actually here, I had a change of heart about dealing with the traffic to get out of the city. Instead of sunbathing on the rooftop deck, I wanted to be in the mountains at my daughter’s home, helping her make gravy and our family’s secret stuffing recipe.
A high pitched beeping signaled a new text on Stan’s phone, a very rare occurrence.
“Who’s texting you?” I asked, not even trying to hide the accusatory tone in my voice.
With a sly grin, Stan pulled up the back of the chair into a seated position and stood, putting his hand out to help me up. I couldn’t help but glance between his hand and his face, trying to figure out why he was looking so smug.
“Did you really think I was going to let you spend Thanksgiving alone? The kids are all up in the house, Kate’s even brought the turkey and all the fixings.”
My face must have been a mix of amazement and joy. Jumping to my feet I hugged Stan harder than I had in years. “How did you know?” Happy tears ran down my cheeks as we grabbed our chairs to head back inside.
“I miss them too, you know. We all got lucky with the weather being as nice as it was. Gave me a cover to keep you out of the kitchen until they could get things all set up.” He leaned down and gave me a quick kiss. “Besides, I knew the more I bugged you about getting the turkey in the oven, the longer you’d stubbornly resist my nagging.”
It was right then when I realized perhaps the sizzle was long gone from our relationship, but you couldn’t replicate how insync we were. Stan’s thoughtful gift to me was something I would always cherish. It also helped me recognize, on the day made for gratitude, how happy I was to be reminded that complacency had no business in my marriage.
Wishing all my American readers a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.
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Michela Walters is a wife, mother and book enthusiast. She is currently attempting her hand at writing her first romantic fiction novella. You can read her other stories on her blog: michelawalters.wordpress.com