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Gift Exchange

If all goes well, Stephanie and the boys are coming home this Saturday. If the weather clears and no flights are cancelled. If. It’s hard to imagine, but Texas is struggling with another freak winter storm with ice and snow on the ground. Any time “freezing precipitation” appears in Dallas, it is a crippling weather occurrence.  

In preparation for Stephanie’s return, I finally started picking up the house and putting things away. Stephanie’s extra week in Texas gave me a reprieve from having to give a damn about the order of my surroundings. Basically, I’ve spent the past three weeks reverting to bachelor ways. Even more so than when I was a bachelor.

In addition to my own clothes and toiletries, I brought back a red duffle filled with a small fraction of the random things we collected in our time in Texas. Small tidbits, Christmas gifts, and other things we’d managed to acquire in two weeks. Most of it is Stephanie’s or the boys’ and I hate putting those kinds of things away because I never know what to do with them. As I finally unpacked that bag, I came across a motley assortment of items that made me stop to browse and remember.

On one of our last evenings together before I flew back to Alaska, Stephanie and I went out on a date together while the squids were nestled all snug in their beds. We went to Gloria’s for drinks and dinner. It rained heavily that night, and the entrance to the restaurant was flooded. The room buzzed with that weird energy that accompanies such storms. Or maybe that was me buzzing from the margaritas at the bar. We had dinner in a dark and gratefully low traffic corner. We had planned to see a movie after dinner, but we were having such an enjoyable time just being together and talking with each other that neither of us wanted to sit in a movie theatre for two hours in parallel seclusion. It was that new-romance, hunched over the table, staring into each others eyes kind of evening. Either that or it was my fourth margarita shifting the effects of gravity. Anyway, it was Stephanie’s idea for us to go to Target. Her idea and her plan, and it was totally brilliant. We agreed to take thirty minutes and ten dollars each to shop for the perfect gift for each other. We went separately and didn’t see what was selected by the other until the thirty minutes were up and we met up again in the dead empty café area at the front of the store.

It was an exercise in thoughtfulness for both of us. I enjoyed spending a focused half hour thinking of Stephanie and what she would like, what she would want, what most spoke to me of her. I rushed around the store, looking frantically for ideas. I started by department: jewelry, clothes, lingerie, baby stuff, house wares. The clock was ticking and I hadn’t selected anything yet. We combed shelves. We caught glimpses of each other between isles and around corners. I picked up items, then dismissed them in favor of others. Thirty minutes went by in a flash. We collected our purchases, drove to the lake, parked in the dark to listen to the rain on the roof of the car during our own private gift exchange.

Tonight I opened those gifts again as I unpacked that red duffle bag and put away its contents. And what did we get each other, you ask? Ahh… what happens in a marriage stays in a marriage.

Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 11:20PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | Comments3 Comments

Reader Comments (3)

Ok, I am really faithful about reading this and you leave me hanging like that!! Well, on second thought maybe I don't want to know. ;)
January 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMel
Me too. Its like standing in a queue (pretending to be Brits), and just before you get to the ticket window, they put up a sign that says: Sold out!
January 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDad
That is so romantic! Now, why didn't I ever thought of doing that with my wife (going to store ang get each other gifts)?
I love that.Never thought of knowing the romantic side of you,Brian. And of course you too, Steph.
Uncle Budi
April 9, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterUncle B.

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