From Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul

Hubby’s Special Gift

True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked.

Erich Segal

I stood just beyond the doorway. And I watched. And I listened. And I smiled. He didn’t know I was there. And he spackled. And he sang. And he cursed the wrong size screws. And he sang. And he measured. And he knocked over a box of nails. And he cursed. And I giggled. Quietly. Lovingly.

Hubby was building a room. A room just for me. A “proper” room for me to write in. And I swear, although I could be wrong, he said to himself, She’s gonna love this room! And I swear, although I could be wrong, I whispered to myself, Yes, she’s gonna love this room—because you built it, just for me. And then I smiled, I guess too loudly. He looked up and saw me.

Puzzled, he pushed back his baseball cap and asked, “What are you looking at?” I giggled, “You.” He smiled, “Do you like it—do you like your new room?” I smiled, “I love it—I love my new room.” And he smiled. Loudly.

And then he proclaimed, “No more of you sitting on a hard stool with no back, writing on a stupid workbench in a dingy workshop with no windows, poor light . . .”

“And,” I interrupted, “no more with you sitting in your stupid Barcalounger bugging me while I write.” I winked. He winked back. And then with all seriousness he said, “Now you have a proper room with proper accoutrements and proper lighting and I’m even gonna install a proper pencil sharpener so you can keep your pencils properly sharpened so that you can write properly.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I write with a pen. He built this room just for me—pencil sharpener and all. I loved that.

Soon I was in my proper new room ready to write. Properly, of course. I had my proper chair, proper desk, proper lighting and even my proper pencil sharpener. I was set. But something wasn’t “proper.” I couldn’t write. I didn’t get it. The room was perfect and proper—a dream. And then I got it. I grabbed my pad of paper and pen and went into the dingy workshop with poor lighting and sat on the hard stool with no back. Puzzled, Hubby looked up at me from his Barcalounger. “What’s wrong?”

“I couldn’t write,” I said. Seriously, he asked, “Is there something wrong with your new room?”

“Seriously,” I replied, “Yes . . . you’re not in it.” He smiled. Loudly. And then I wrote. Properly.

Lisa Bade Goodwin

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