I was about the call the credit card fraud number when I realized I’d probably just ruined my anniversary surprise. A large charge to a jewelry store had raised red flags. That’s the last place I’d drop a few hundred bucks.

But then I remembered that our 20th wedding anniversary was coming up and, clearly, he’d been paying attention when I casually mentioned I’d like an anniversary band. Nothing flashy (that’s just not me), just simple and understated.

Crap. Now I have to think of something for him.

(Leave it to me to be annoyed and inconvenienced by his thoughtfulness.)

I put it off until two days before our anniversary and, I text him: What do you want for an anniversary present?

He text back: Nothing. Just you.

And for about the millionth time I think: He deserves so much better than me. He deserves one of those sweet, soft-spoken, kind wives that’s always happy and never yells at the kids, and still loves making out on the couch, and surprising him with his favorite home cooked meals.

I’m a jaded skeptic with a tendency to be bitchy and standoffish. You won’t find me cuddling on his lap or singing while I put the kids’ clean clothes away (swearing, maybe, but not singing). I’m a lousy hostess and wife because I don’t like serving people; my mother raised me to be independent and I’m too independent for my own good. I’m selfish, impatient, sarcastic, and unemotional to a fault.

I’d be a better wife if I could. I do try. I know that when he comes home from fishing camp I should smile sweetly and say, “Welcome home. Did you have fun? Did you catch anything? Let’s sit and talk.”

But what usually happens is that I bang into him when he’s coming downstairs with his laundry and I’m coming up with a load of clean laundry and I say something like….”Great, cause I just got all the laundry done” or I tell him the girls have been fighting all weekend and he owes me big time, or I grab my purse and yell over my shoulder, “They’re all yours,” as I escape to upper Peach street for a little retail therapy (or payback, depending on how you look at it).

I can’t help it. It’s like that story about the scorpion and the frog in The Crying Game — it’s in my nature.

Sometimes I feel sorry for him. I wonder if he regrets marrying me. I’ve never asked him. You know the old saying, “Never ask a question you don’t want the to answer to.”

I’m pretty sure I know what he’d say. He’d tell me I’m being silly and that I’m not as bad as I think I am. Kindness and unwavering love are in his nature.

He doesn’t over think things. I can’t stop.

I recently read The Noticer, in which the author touches on four of the “love languages” (gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch) in Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages. I knew immediately which dialect I was fluent in (bet you can’t guess?!?), but I wondered which language Dan speaks. After 20 years you would think I should know, right? See what I’m saying about being a bad wife? See what I’m saying about over thinking things?

I end up going to the chocolate shop and buying him the jumbo constipation-guaranteed size of sponge candy they sell because I know he loves it (sponge candy, not constipation). It’s a pittance compared to the money he plunked down on the band that’s now sparking around my finger, but he says it’s enough.

Of course he would say that.

I seriously don’t deserve him, but I’m truly grateful he’s mine. I wish I didn’t need a keyboard to say that, but, then, the written word is my love language.

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About Just Write
“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking