Once upon a time, a young couple embarked on the kind of lifelong adventure only two soul mates could undertake. They were wed one week before Christmas then began a magical journey, full of wonder and excitement. When they returned home to enjoy their first holiday as husband and wife, though, trouble lurked on the horizon.
Okay, maybe it didn’t happen quite that way, but I’m allowed some poetic license since this is my life I’m writing about. There is some truth to the above – I was married for the first time a week before Christmas to someone I truly believed would be mine forever. I wish I’d known she didn’t feel the same, but I’ll save that for another blog.
After a wonderful church wedding attended by family and friends that neither of us knew existed, we left for our honeymoon. The plan was to return on December 23 to my small apartment (not very roomy, but it had a double bed and that seemed to be all we cared about). Before leaving I had agreed to let the building maintenance people repaint my apartment and do some other minor repairs. I also made certain they knew when we would be returning and they assured me that all the work would be done.
When we arrived home a week later I unlocked the door to my flat then stood dumbfounded. The furniture had been moved to the center of the room and was covered by a paint-stained tarp. This avant-garde motif was offset by drop cloths, paint cans, brushes and rollers, and a couple of ladders. I was stunned.
I regained my senses and marched to the apartment of the onsite manager, a mealy-mouthed jerk with a lie to fit any occasion. After some blustering and fist pounding on my part (don’t you love it when young guys in love think they have to play Macho Man to impress their girls?), Mr. Mealy-mouth flashed a Cheshire Cat grin and said he would be glad to put us up in one of the vacant apartments. “No,” I thundered. “That isn’t good enough!” I told him that the leasing company would foot the bill for a room at one of the nicer motels in town and we would settle this in the morning when the head maintenance guy staggered in to work.
We checked into the motel then went in search of a late supper. As we sat in a booth at Big Boy, I stared at the nearly deserted city street and felt crushed. After a week spent reveling in each other’s passions and looking forward to spending our first holiday together, I was upset by this turn of events. My young bride tried her best to pick up my spirits, reassuring me that in spite of this setback, we still had each other and that was all that mattered. She convinced me that somehow we’d make the best of it.
The following morning we returned to the scene of the crime and worked out a compromise. The maintenance honcho agreed to get a good portion of the work completed by the end of the day and I agreed not to sue the pants off the owners. I’ve often wondered if the fact that I kept reminding him that my brother was an Attorney had anything to do with it.
We stayed in our new home that night while stepping around some presents the painters had left for us. Christmas morning arrived and we exchanged gifts in front of a small artificial tree that probably would’ve embarrassed Charlie Brown. My wife prepared a makeshift feast from items we’d scrounged from bare grocery store shelves the day before, but to me it was the best meal I’d ever had. We enjoyed our first Christmas together with a couple of bottles of wine, watched a few holiday movies on my small black-and-white portable TV then sat quietly, holding each other. I mentally recapped the whirlwind events of the previous days and a revelation came over me.
I gazed into her soft baby blues and told her how lucky I felt to have shared that experience with her. I also agreed with what she had said the night before – as long as we were together, a hunting shack in the woods would have been like paradise to me.
And so they lived happily ever after, until the young woman fell in love with a dashing Doctor at the hospital where she worked and her not-quite-ready-to-settle-down husband began chasing a cute blonde from the office - but that’s another fairy tale.
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Tim Smith is a bestselling, award-winning author whose books range from romantic adventures to contemporary erotic romance. His website is www.timsmithauthor.com.