The noise of the band swept around them making conversation impossible. Shelooked over at her husband who was gazing at her, reflecting on how longtwenty-five years really was. Tonight, March 31, they celebrated those longyears. These past few months her life had revolved around this party, thepreparations and the planning. She had gone over every minute detail to make sureeverything was perfect. She had a plan which only she knew, and everything had togo according to that plan. Thus far it had. She glanced about her: the band wasplaying and people were laughing and dancing completely unaware of how sheexpected the rest of the evening to go.
Although her husband was stillgazing lovingly at her, her face remained set. With a short sigh she glanced downat her watch; it was ten minutes to twelve. Ten short minutes until the entireparty would change. She again reflected on the hours and planning that had goneinto perfecting this party. She had stayed awake so many nights arranging detailsand imagining how much fun she would have. Her son and daughters had offered toarrange the party for her but she had refused. She had insisted that she would doit herself.
A tap on her shoulder awakened her from her reveries with astart. When the band played an old quiet favorite of hers, her husband wanted todance. Unsmilingly, she rose and walked to the dance floor. As he whirled heraround the dance floor, he asked, "What's the matter? You seem sopreoccupied tonight."
"It's nothing," she lied, "I'mfine."
"Don't tell me it's nothing. I know something is wrong.Tell me what it is."
"I told you already, nothing is wrong. Howmany times do I have to say it. I am fine!"
"Well, you justdon't seem to be..."
At this point the band lashed out loudly againand she could no longer hear him. He looked helplessly at her. He was unable toimagine what was wrong; she seemed so unhappy. The song finally ended and sheplodded back to her seat and slumped in it. It was now five minutes to twelve.Her heart began to flutter. She had set up a signal with the band. She had onlyto give them that one little signal. That was all.
The minutes tickedslowly by, unheeded by those on the dance floor, but each carefully accounted forby this bride of twenty-five years.
It was finally midnight. She waited asthe band finished the song it was playing, then she caught the leader's eye andwinked. With a nod of understanding the leader turned and motioned for the bandto stop playing. It was 12: 01. Preceded by a drumroll, the leader announced thatthe guest of honor and bride of twenty-five years had a special gift for herhusband and wanted him to open it now. The sea of people parted as she walked tothe middle of the dance floor followed by her husband. When she reached thecenter, she turned and faced the expectantly smiling faces of her guests. Herhusband turned to her, a smile covering his face. She reached into her pocketbookand brought forth a long thin envelope which she handed to him. He quickly toreit open, still smiling. Suddenly, however, the smile disappeared leaving a lookof bewilderment. The pages from inside the envelope slipped through his fingersand floated to the ground. He faced his wife, unable to speak. After a momenttheir son stepped forward and retrieved the pages. He looked at them and the sameexpression of shock crossed his face. It took less than one minute for the newsto spread across the entire room. The "gift" was divorce papers waitingonly for her husband's signature to complete. All turned towards her and awaiteda response. Her husband's eyes implored her. Why? they asked. Why? She did notwait for him to ask the question aloud, but gave him an answer. It was short andto the point.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.