He stood at the kitchen table and puzzled over the red envelope I’d tucked inside the morning paper. “Is it my birthday?” he asked as he opened the card. It showed two goldfish smiling at each other from their side-by-side bowls. When he jumps into her bowl they live happily ever after, presumably.
Right month, wrong date. “No, Valentine’s Day,” I said.
“Oh, I didn’t know. Why didn’t you remind me?”
I pointed to his message board where I’d put frolicking red hearts every day this past week. He shook his head and shrugged his apology. In fairness, the card isn’t a Valentine, strictly speaking. It’s teal and gold, not red and pink, and it’s a general purpose card about happiness. It could be a birthday card.
I picked it because of the goldfish. They’re known to have exceptionally short attention spans. Peter is my goldfish.
Leslie, on the other hand, delivered a red and pink, glitter-encrusted card that said, “Happy Valentine’s Day…consider yourself reminded.” She often reminds me to be as direct as possible with my husband, no complicated explanations, no double meanings. He had no trouble remembering she’d brought a shiny red, heart-shaped box of chocolates. We each had one with our breakfast porridge.
I said it was OK that he didn’t remember the day. “You gave me the best present Wednesday…”
“I did? What was it?” He looked pleased with himself.
“…extra-special hugs after our dinner at India Garden.”
“Why’d I do that?”
“We hadn’t been there in a while. You cleaned your plate and mine, it tasted that good to you.”
“I don’t remember.”
“We’ll go again before too long. Maybe I’ll get more hugs…?” I batted my eyes.
He took the hint and hugged me. “Don’t get used to this,” he said, as I knew he would.
Maybe there’s something to be said for predictability.