Today’s short story is entitled “Renewed” and features a married couple. I hope single and married alike enjoy it.
Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
By Celise Saenz
Camille Bloom lay on her side, studying the nightstand beside her. Today was Valentine’s Day. In the twenty-five years since she’d married Keith, he’d never missed a year.
There was no single red rose waiting for her when she woke up.
She couldn’t stay under the covers forever and mourn her absent rose. She thanked God for another day and slipped out of bed. Camille inspected her fair skin as she brushed her teeth. With one hand she touched the delicate area underneath her eye. Maybe she should have ordered that miracle working cream she saw on television.
An hour later, Keith called as she fixed her coffee. Camille answered expecting him to mention the forgotten rose. “Hi, Honey. Is everything okay?”
“Yes. I forgot to tell you, Mr. Edwards is having a dinner party tonight. I’m sorry it’s short notice, but he’d like us to come, and he is my boss.
“Tonight? Keith, didn’t you say our whole house fits into his media room?”
“Relax, Cami. He may have money, but he’s not haughty. You’ll like him. I’ve got to go. Sales meeting in five minutes. I’ll be home around 6 o’clock.”
“Okay, love you.”
Camille knew he wouldn’t repeat the phrase. Keith had said he loved her a few times over the years, but the words didn’t flow for him as they did for her.
Since she worked from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Camille took her coffee into the den. For the next four hours, she graded research papers.
After she broke for lunch, her daughter Kelly called. “Hi, Mom. Happy Valentine’s Day!”
“Hi, Sweetie. How’s your day going?”
“Wonderful, Stephen sent flowers to my job. They’re beautiful. What about you? Dad get you anything special?”
“No. He forgot, but it’s okay. We’re going to his boss’ house tonight for a party.”
“Sounds fancy. Wear that champagne-colored dress we bought a few months ago. It’s perfect. I’ll come by after work and help you with your hair.”
Camille thought about the glittery dress hanging in her closet. It was still in its plastic garment bag. She and Kelly had taken a trip to an upscale outlet mall. She didn’t think she’d ever have a chance to wear the cocktail dress, but Kelly had persuaded her to buy it anyway. “It’s 75% off, Mom. When else are you going to have a dress from Bloomingdales?” she had asked.
“I’ll wear it.”
“Great. I’ll see you later.”
After hanging up with Kelly, Camille answered her emails and checked the mail before returning to work. At 2 o’clock, the doorbell rang.
Camille peaked out the window and saw a delivery truck. Of course. He had a present delivered to me. She opened the door and greeted the driver with a huge smile.
“Good afternoon, Ma’am. I have a package for Keith Bloom.”
Shouldn’t the package say “Camille Bloom” if it was her Valentine’s Day gift? Her smile faltered. “I’m his wife. Can I sign for it?”
“Sure.” He handed her the box. It wasn’t heavy and she could hold it in one hand. Probably a new part for one of his guitars.
Camille ambled into the kitchen and sat the package on the counter. She picked up the card her son Cameron had sent. At least one of the men in her life remembered her today.
Later that day, Kelly came over with her toolbox of beauty in tow. Camille had already showered and now sat in front of the vanity in her robe, while her daughter did her hair and makeup. “Don’t you have your own date to get ready for? I can do this myself.”
“Stephen is picking me up here, I have time. Now, close your eyes, you need eye shadow.”
“Not too much. Remember, I’m thirty years older than you.”
“Just a little plum to enhance your green eyes. Don’t worry, Mom. When I get done, you’ll look twenty-three again.”
Thirty minutes later, the back door opened as Kelly pinned the last auburn curl into place. “Hello? Where is everyone?”
Kelly stood back and surveyed her work. “Stunning. Now go put your dress on, Mom! We want Dad to see the whole picture.”
Camille dismissed her comment with a wave. “Your father has seen me every which way there is. It doesn’t matter.”
“It does. Trust me.”
When Camille finished dressing, she found Keith alone in the room. He sat on the edge of the bed, tying his shoe. He watched her as she approached. “Wow, you look amazing. You’ll make me appear ancient.”
“Thank you, and you’re not that old.” She ran a hand through his short, salt-and-pepper hair. “That’s better. Are you ready?”
He stood and kissed her on the cheek. “Let’s go, gorgeous.”
Keith and Camille pulled out of their two car garage and started their journey across town. Fifteen minutes later they drove through the gated entrance of Mr. Edwards estate. Camille slapped her husband on the arm with the back of her hand. “You didn’t tell me it was this big.”
Keith laughed. “Incredible, isn’t it?”
She took in the two-story structure. It sprawled across an immaculately landscaped front yard. The circle driveway held at least ten cars. “It is.”
Once they parked, a man greeted them at the door and led them to the back garden. A cement path lined with lights stretched from the back door to an area set up with white chairs. An ivory satin aisle ran between two sections of seats and ended under a floral arch. Camille leaned over to her husband, not wanting the butler to hear her. “Are you sure this is a dinner party? I think someone is getting married.”
“What do you mean?” A movement caught Camille’s attention and she glanced at the house. Both her and Keith’s parents, along with their children stood watching from a large bay window. She turned and faced Keith again and her voice raised an octave. “We’re renewing our vows?”
Keith picked up the red rose that sat on a chair closest to him and handed it to her. Camille followed his movements without saying a word. She gasped when he retrieved a diamond eternity ring from his pocket.
“Do you still love me enough to do this over again?”
Camille ignored the tears as they streamed down her face. “I do.”