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Mary’s Birthday

James Osborne | Kristy Lankford

“I hate this,” Don Stone said. “Particularly today.”

He was in hospital and it was a special day: Mary’s birthday.

Don’s trips to hospital had become more frequent. Congestive heart failure does that. When Mary was not at the hospital with him, she was home awaiting his calls. His wife of more than 50 years didn’t like being apart from her doting husband. Don knew that. He missed her too. He would phone Mary two or three times a day. She liked that, a lot.

This day, the phone rang just before noon. Mary answered. She was sad not having him around for her birthday. Mary was surprised by Don’s voice. He’d just called a few minutes earlier to wish her a happy birthday. Now, he was on the phone again.

‘Maybe he forgot to tell me something’, she thought. She was happy.

“Mary, look out the window,” Don said in his characteristic matter-of-fact tone. “You know … the one overlooking the driveway.”

“What for, Don?” Mary asked, puzzled by this unusual request.

“Just look out the window, please,” he said. “Tell me what’s there.”

Mary’s curiosity took her to the window. She was startled by what she saw in their driveway.

She hurried back to the phone.

“Don!” she said, alarmed. “Someone’s parked a great big car in our driveway! Who would do such a thing, blocking our driveway like that? What should I do, Don?”

“Mary,” Don replied. “I’d like you to go outside and see if that car will fit in our garage. The keys are in it.”

“What? Whatever for, Don?” Mary asked.

“Never mind, Mary,” Don replied gently. “Just do it for me. Okay? I’ll hold on.”

Mary was thinking, ‘Well, whatever’. She was accustomed to ‘humoring’ her good-natured husband. She agreed to go outside and see if the big car would fit into their oversized single-car garage. She noticed it was exactly like the Cadillac she’d always wanted.

Mary returned to the phone.

“Yes, Don,” she said, “I drove the car into the garage. It fits just fine. I put it back where it was. Now, tell me, what’s this all about? Is someone coming to pick it up?”

“Thank you,” Don replied. “But, please drive it back into the garage, will you my Love. Happy Birthday, Mary! Hope you like your new car. I love you.”

About James Osborne

James Osborne is the award-winning author of more than 60 short stories and two suspense/thriller novels. His fiction, creative non-fiction and humorous short stories have won regional and international awards, and have been published in a number of popular anthologies.

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