I paced around the dining room with my arms folded across my chest as I began to brainstorm ideas for the perfect anniversary gift for my wife. My hand lowered to clutched my stomach gently as I stopped in my tracks to sit down at the dining table. I took a pen and notepad out of my purse that resided in the chair next to me to compile a physical list of gifts. I started with something simple - a bouquet of her favourite flowers. The list stayed small as I added only simple items she's sure to love.
I bite my lip gently as I put the last item on the list underneath the banana milk drink she declared as her favourite beverage ever since I introduced it to her on a field trip when we were both little kids in the 4th grade. After all the years, she still asks me to go across town to the Korean grocery store to stock up every once in a while.
After sliding the list back in my purse along with the pen, I pick it up and slide it onto my arm as I head to the front door. I slip on my shoes and grab the car keys to start my day of gathering everything on my list. First I head across down to buy the banana milk drinks to get them out of the way, then I work my way back to our area and purchase the most vibrant bouquet of various roses from the local florist. Red to symbolize my love for her, Orange to show my pride in our relationship, pink to tell her how happy she makes me and as a thank you for loving me as much as I love her. Yellow roses also reside in the bouquet, they stand for the friendship she and I have formed over the years and a welcoming memory.
Amongst all these different-coloured roses, there's a lonely lavender one in the center of the bouquet. Lavender, a harder color to find when it comes to roses, means love at first sight and enchantment which is what I was exposed to when I met Navaeh. Although it seemed like a childhood crush at the time, I was so in love with her that I would've done anything for her, and I still will. She had my heart in her hands and I soon had hers in mine.
I make a stop at her favourite sweet shop and purchase a box of chocolates. They weren't much, it was a simple small heart-shaped box of various chocolates but it was the same box that she brought me on our first official date because she was nervous and didn't know what to get. I can't help but smile at the memory of my nervous 16-year-old girlfriend as she offered me chocolates, obviously worried about how the night would go with the news she had to share with me.
I glance up at the kind-faced gentleman who's scanning my chocolates for me as he gives me an amused look. "Are these chocolates for your boyfriend?" he asked me in a fond tone. I shook my head a bit "They're for my wife" I responded with quietly. The man looks a bit surprised before his small, fake and practiced smile that he uses for all his customers grows into a bigger, genuine smile. "Oh, how lovely!" He says as he hands me my receipt and chocolates "I hope she enjoys them! Have a good day!". I return his smile as I offer him a goodbye in return before leaving the shop.
I slip the chocolates and receipts in my purse and walk down the street to the corner store. I return the hello from the lady at the cash register before I begin browsing the isles as I avoid getting the product I came in for. I take a look at the nail polishes on the messy display from people frequently painting it with the polish on the shelf.
I set the purple polish in my hand down as I decide to bite the bullet and get what I came in for. I could hear my heartbeat begin to quicken and the knot in my stomach tighten as I stand in front of the small wall of various pregnancy tests. They all promise the same thing, a 99% accuracy rate. I close my eyes as I reach for a standard double pink line test before going to the register. I avoid all eye contact as I can but what ever deity that looks down on us all was not on my side at this moment as the bubbly teen behind the cash register begins to strike up a conversation.
"You seem nervous, I'm sure he'll be thrilled if this comes back positive!" she says in her annoyingly squeaky voice. I nod in response, not wanting to correct her because there is no possible way I could explain it to her in a way she'd understand. "I'm just more nervous for me than for him" I say in response, hesitating before saying 'him'. I offer her a practiced smile of my own as I take the test and receipt from her as we exchange goodbyes.
The moment I get in the solitude of my car, I let out a long, strained sigh to calm my nerves. I set my purse down in the passenger seat beside the flowers and start my car. As the cool AC hits my face, I begin to drive back home with my mind racing with all my thoughts of how tonight will go. I know she'd never be upset with me, but I can't help thinking she'd be upset with herself.
As I pull into the driveway, I notice her car already parked. She's home before me. I turn off my car and put the pregnancy test in my purse beside the chocolates before grabbing the flowers and drinks before exiting the car. As I open the door a little bit and peek my head inside, I'm hit with the smell of gumbo. Navaeh's mother made it the night I met her parents for the first time and it was one of the best dishes I've ever eaten.
"Nav!" I shout inside the house "I need you to close your eyes and don't open until I say so!". I hear her chuckle from the kitchen "Okay! My eyes are shut, please don't tickle me" she says jokingly. I giggle and make my way into the house, trying to keep the plastic from the flowers from making too much noise. "Don't give me any ideas" I say as I get a vase from the storage closet, filling it with water and setting the roses in. I set it on the kitchen island along with the chocolates down as well as the drinks. "Keep them closed! I'll be right back" I say as I sneak the pregnancy test out of my purse and tiptoeing to the bathroom.
As I flush the toilet and wait for the test to develop its answer, I wash my hands and look in the mirror. I worry the skin on my bottom lip between my teeth as I run my dry hand through my shoulder-length black hair. I grab the test from its place on the back of the toilet after the time is up and I glance down at the result. Two pink lines. I'm pregnant. My heart begins to pound as I slide the test into my pocket and walk back out to the kitchen where I see my lovely wife of 3 years stirring the gumbo and humming along to some unnamed tune. I wrap my arms around her waist and rest my chin on her shoulder, planting a soft kiss on her cheek as her curls tickle my cheek.
"You didn't keep your eyes closed" I whisper into her ear. I smile at the sound of her dorky laugh as she gently elbows me off of her. "I wasn't about to let dinner burn because you had to pee" she says in a warm but silly tone. "Fair point" I said shrugging "But now you can look! Turn around". I watch as her eyes turn from confusion to realization to delighted as fondness took over her features. "You got these for me?" she asked in a soft tone as she stepped forward to the island, picking up the chocolates and leaning in to smell the roses "All I did was get off work early and cook you dinner" she said in mock defeat. I nodded and shrugged a bit "I decided to be all mushy and romantic on you this year, allow me to explain?" she nodded and took the gumbo off the burner so it didn't overcook as I began to speak.
"Okay well," I began to get a bit nervous as her eyes and attention were on me. The test began to burn a hole in my pocket as I launched into my first explanation. "Obviously, the drinks are your favourite, but they're also the first thing we talked about when we met. They're the reason we met" I said, swallowing the lump of nervousness in my throat "The roses are self-explanatory, you know what they mean because your mother was a big flower lover. I love you for red, orange is I have pride in our relationship, no matter how unconventional it may be, pink is to say I appreciate you in my life, lavender is love at first sight, and yellow..." I begin to trail off. Her eyes are on me in a doting way.
"Yellow is for friendship, the one we formed before and during our relationship and the one we still hold. And as a welcome, or welcome back." I say, her adoration was tinted with slight confusion. "What I mean by welcoming you, is the real you?" my voice began to shake as I tried to explain "When you told me on our first date, that I wasn't going to have a boyfriend. How you explained to me that you're physically a boy, but you're not one. Instead, I would get my first and only girlfriend". Navaeh's gaze softened but her eyes began to well up with tears.
Too nervous to look her in the eyes any longer, I began to look down at the next item which was the chocolates. "You gave these to me on our first date, and we shared them while you explained everything to me. You were so nervous that I would reject you that you forgot to eat the one in your hand and it melted in your palm, but our first kiss tasted like chocolate and caramel and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way."
I heard a sniffle coming from in front of me and I quickly looked up to see Navaeh's eyes filled with tears and her cheeks sporting some tear tracks. Her smile was still there as she walked closer to me and wrapped me in a warm embrace. "Now I feel really stupid for just making you dinner, Maya" she said in a soft chuckle that was muffled by my hair. I shake my head softly and look up at her "Don't be, you were busy" I said. I reach into my pocket and keep my eyes locked with hers "I have one more thing for you". She lets go of me and takes a step back with her eyebrow raised "well aren't I special today?" she asked in a curious tone.
I place one hand over her eyes gently, pulling the test out of my pocket and setting it in her hand before slowly removing my hand from her face. I held my breath as she looked at the test trying to make sense out of it, inside my heart was as loud as an angry man pounding on a door. Navaeh's eyes flickered from the test to my stomach to my eyes and back to the test. "This is real?" she asked, skeptically, as if I was trying to play some prank on her. I nodded and before I could mutter a verbal response, she dropped the test on the floor and her arms wrapped around me. I looked up at her in surprise and saw an elated grin adorning her features.
"You're not upset?" I asked and watched her grin falter a bit and morph into utter confusion "Upset? Why would I be upset? This is great news Maya!" she squealed out, laughing "We're going to be moms!". All my nerves melted away as my worried expression turned to one of utmost happiness at her words. My hands found their way to my stomach as did Navaeh's as she leaned down and planted the most tender and love-filled kiss on my lips before she kneeled down and left many soft kisses my stomach for our future baby. "Got any names for if they're a boy?" I ask her. I watched her shoulders shrug in response before she wrapped her arms around my waist to pull me closer, resting her head against my body. "How about girl names?" I ask again. She nuzzled her nose into my stomach gently, radiating adoration and love. "Rose"