Photo and Story
by AR Neal
Adeleine and Alestair had been together for more years than either of them could remember. They’d met on the farm as teenagers; her ma milked cows for his pa, their families had been friends and neighbors forever, and so it was natural that the two of them would become a couple.
Three children and many acres later, here they were. It was their anniversary and she was furious at him. Not once in all the years they’d been married had Alestair ever taken her out or bought her something nice, other than something for the kitchen. She sighed, figuring that was what he thought she wanted. They loved each other purely, but their communication had never been quite…on.
Alestair was a strong man whose love was as fierce as his anger; he hated it when he didn’t know what to do, especially where Adeleine was concerned. It was their anniversary and he wasn’t sure what to get her. He’d secretly hitched up the wagon and had it washed and decked with flowers. The package with the dress in it was hidden under a hay bale in the back. It was already dusk and he figured she would be mad, thinking he’d forgotten.
He walked up onto the porch to find her standing at the screen door with her arms crossed. He had the invitation behind his back, under his hat. She huffed as he looked at her and cleared his throat. “Now woman, you know’ed I love you more’n anything in this world. I figgered out a nice present for ya since it is our anniversary afterall. Can’t say as I’m good a figurin’ so’s I admit I forgot how many years it’s been but I’m grateful for the household y’keep for me.” He could tell she was softening but since she was about as stubborn as he, she wasn’t giving in. “Anyways, the way I see it, all we need is some loosenin’ up and we’ll have a nice evenin.” He stepped to the side so she could see the wagon. Her eyes widened and a smile teased the corners of her lips. He knew he had her hooked, and went for the punchline: “Maybe this’ll help us both.” He handed her the beat-up little metal can and her cheeks turned as bright as its bottom as she laughed and laughed.
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