True love is an amazing thing.
My wife is an amazing woman. I can go on for hours and days about how amazing she is. I, honestly, do not deserve a woman like her. We’ve been together 25 years and she constantly shows me what true love is.
I can’t say that I have always shown her the same. However, I can go back to one time in particular where I showed my wife how much I loved her … and then some.
We were still young newlyweds with no kids at the time. It was a Sunday morning and we were getting ready for church. She came out of the bedroom with a frustrated look on her face. If you don’t know what that is, don’t clean up after yourself for a day or two and you will see it from your significant other.
“Can you do me a favor?” she asked.
“What kind of favor?” I’ve learned when someone ask you to do them a favor, you should always find out what it is before committing. Some favors are loaded dynamite waiting to explode.
“I’m out of tampons,” she said without smiling. “Can you run to the store and get them for me?”
I’m sure I stared at her for a few seconds in disbelief. She wanted me to go to a store by myself to purchase feminine hygiene products. “Ummm …”
First of all, she should not have had to say please. I had already failed.
I nodded and said, “Okay, but what am I getting?”
Even though we had only been married a short time, she already knew the most important thing she could do was write exactly what she wanted down. A minute later she handed me a piece of paper with the names of the products she needed. I took the paper, read it and looked back at her.
She smiled big and gave me a cute, “I love you.” It was one of those ‘I’ll love you forever if you do this for me’ I love yous.
“I love you, too,” I said and left the house.
Back then, when the dinosaurs were merely dead and not quite fossils, there was still a drugstore chain named Eckard’s, and there just happen to be one five minutes from the house.
I drove to Eckard’s, got out of the car and went inside. I strolled around, not really searching for the aisle I needed, putting off the inevitable for as long as possible. Eventually, I found the feminine hygiene aisle and stared blankly at all of the products. I stood there wondering ‘what have I gotten myself into?’ There were so many different packages with their pinks and purples and blues and greens, and most of them had similar names.
I pulled out the piece of paper, which had been crumpled and shoved into my front pocket. I read the first of the two items and began The Search For That Which Terrifies Me. This was an easy find. It wasn’t quite eye level but close enough to where i didn’t have to bend over or squat to find it. The second one took a little longer to find. I looked at the paper, then at the shelves, then back to the paper. I did this several times. I even picked up what I thought was the right pack, but it didn’t feel right. I looked at her list again. There was one word that was different, so I put it back and the search continued.
“A-ha,” I all but yelled when I found the right package with the exact wording as her note. I cringed—physically, to the point of my shoulders scrunching up and me ducking slightly, then looking around as if I had committed a crime and someone had seen it. I picked the package up and looked at it as if it was a newborn child. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I did have somewhat of a triumphant, ‘ha, I found you,’ feeling going on. It’s almost like I killed the wabbit, and in the next scene I would be wondering what have I done?
I thought that would be the difficult part. I was wrong.
This was a drug store and it was Sunday morning. There shouldn’t have been as many people in it as there were. More importantly, there shouldn’t have been as many attractive women in there as there were. Yeah, yeah, I know, why did I notice the attractive women and blah, blah, blah … It’s definitely not what you think, unless you think, ‘hey, he only noticed they were women because, well, they were women and not men, and if they would have been men, then he would have noticed that, too.’ Bottom line: I’m a writer. I notice things. Stick with the story, people!
I left the famine hygiene aisle, head held high, listening to my internal soundtrack playing We Are the Champions. Of course, the lyrics were slightly different:
I am the champion, my friends.
I found the tampons in the end.
I am a champion
Found the pads and tampons
‘Cause I am the champion … for my girl.
Along with the Weird Al-esque singing in my head, I probably had my Bee Gees Staying Alive strut working. My short hair was probably not blowing in a nonexistent breeze, and I didn’t have a beard but a goatee, and I certainly didn’t wear bell bottoms. But I still thought I was The Fonz when I walked into a room. If you don’t know the reference, Google is your friend. I was young and dumb and didn’t think people noticed. I’m probably right.
As I approached the checkout counter I noticed the pretty young lady behind the counter, and the two pretty young ladies waiting to be checked out. I get in line holding a box of tampons in one hand and a pack of pads in the other. Two more young ladies get in line behind me. See what I mean about too many people in a small drug store on a Sunday morning?
So, here are these five attractive women … and me. The one lady directly behind me glanced at the feminine gifts for my wife and smiled. I don’t know if that was a ‘that is awesome of you,’ smile or a ‘you won’t be getting any anytime soon,’ smile. It was probably a little bit of both. I will be honest and say I was a little uncomfortable.
The first lady in line checked out, and we all moved up a couple of steps. The young lady behind the counter glanced at me and gave me the same smile the one behind me did, but I could see the smile was in her eyes, too. It was as if everyone was in on the joke, except for me.
The second lady paid for her items and walked off. I stepped up, placed my two products on the counter. By then I felt naked and alone and as if I were being laughed at behind my back. The lady behind the counter picked up the tampons and looked at them, then at me. She didn’t smile when she asked, “Are these for you?”
I venture to say a lot of folks would have frozen with that question. Is she serious? is she sarcastic? Not me. I’m usually pretty quick witted.
Without smiling and in my best stoner’s shakiest voice I said, “I have a really bad bleeding problem.”
Her mouth dropped open and her cheeks flushed red, and that is how I showed my wife what true love is.
Y’all, have a good day, stay safe and until we meet again my friends, be kind to one another.