John and I should be celebrating our twentieth wedding anniversary, but it looked like there would be no celebration.
We were spending three weeks with John’s family and friends in England and they included me in everything. But today was to be an outing in the park with our two boys.
However, John had left me there with Josh and Johnny and I was feeling neglected. I paused to watch large white clouds move across a bright blue sky, irritated that I couldn’t share the beautiful scenery with my husband. In three days we would return home.
My sons and I stopped by a stream and watched the ducks glide by. A marching band played nearby.
Josh, my youngest, held up a camera. “Mom, take my picture.”
I took off my glasses and dropped them into my bag. “Hold this while I get the camera set,” I said. “And stand over there.” I pointed to the bandstand where red, white, and pink flowers in large baskets hung along the side.
Josh began to swing my bag round and round. “Stop that,” I said and turned to make sure Johnny was nearby.
The camera was ready, and I looked around for background that would make good memories later on. Then, I took my bag, draped it over my arm and snapped several pictures.
Soon, I began to worry about John and decided we needed to return to the parking lot. There stood my husband beside the rental car.
“Where have you been?”
He grinned. “Around.”
Could he not even give an explanation? Had he not wanted to spend today with me? With our boys?
When the car began to move, I reached into my purse for my glasses and put them on. Now I was getting a headache and my vision was blurred.
I rested my head on the back of the car seat and closed my eyes.
My son touched my shoulder. “Hey, Mom, you’ve lost the lens in your frame.”
I opened my eyes, only momentarily relieved. “What’ll I do without my glasses?”
He spoke reluctantly. “They fell out, but I put them back in your bag.”
“Oh, Joshua! You shouldn’t have swung my bag.”
“Sorry,” he said softly.
As soon as he could, John turned the car around. “We’ve got to go back to the spot where you stood.”
Back and forth, again and again, the four of us searched the grass, the shrubs, and the banks of the stream for the missing lens. The setting sun sent shadows across the grass. Soon, the sun began to set. “It’s no use,” I said. “I’ll replace my glasses when we get back home.”
My husband got down on all fours to look again. “Just one more swipe around,” he promised.
I began to see my husband with my heart and less with my eyes. I stooped down beside him.
“You’ve done enough. Please, let’s go.”
“This is so embarrassing,” Johnny said, ducking his head as a group of young boys walked by and looked our way.
“I’ll never do that,” Josh said.
John got up, hands and knees dirty. “Don’t count on that.” He winked at me. “That’s what love is all about, son.”
The next day John surprised me by announcing he’d arranged for his mother to watch our boys so we could celebrate our special day. “Where are you taking me?” I asked as we left the house.
“Just wait and see.”
Later, I turned to him in the car. “This road seems so familiar.”
“How would you know that since you say you can’t see anything without your glasses,” he teased.
So I closed my eyes and listened to the CDs we’d brought along.
Then John parked the car and faced me. “I picked these up while you were taking all those pictures with the boys.”
I could hear the love in his voice and see the light in my husband’s eyes.
He held out two tickets to my favorite musical at the Theatre in the Park―the same park we’d visited yesterday. My heart skipped a beat.
He placed them on my lap. “Only pair of tickets left for the last show.” Then he took my hand and placed my glasses in it, intact. “I came back here with my flashlight last night. You should be able to see the stage clearly now.”
My eyes pricked with tears. “But where did you find the lens?”
“Not far from the stream.” He leaned over and kissed me. “Happy anniversary, sweetheart.”
“It couldn’t be a better one. Happy anniversary, hon,” I said, aware that I needed to appreciate my husband more for all his wonderful expressions of love every day. Now, that’s something to celebrate.
Pat Jeanne Davis writes from her home in Philadelphia, Pa. She enjoys flower gardening, genealogy research and traveling with her British-born husband. Her articles, essays, and short stories have appeared in print and online. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Historical Novel Society. Pat has a particular interest in the World War II Era. Her debut novel When Valleys Bloom Again is a WWII inspirational romance set in the US and UK, published by Elk Lake Publishing, February 1, 2019. She loves to hear from her readers at https://www.patjeannedavis.com