His mom had planned for over week to come see he and she for the occasion of his birthday. It wouldn’t be his birthday until Monday but Sunday worked best for everyone’s schedule. His younger brother accompanied his mom, wanting to see him as well. She thought it was cute how much his little brother looked up to him. The duo arrived at his apartment around noon bearing gifts for he and she. She was given several by his mom for a late Christmas surprise. It took almost 40 minutes to open them all, which was something she wasn’t used to. Ordinarily the gifts she asked for from her parents were electronics or tires for her car, meaning not much to open. She appreciated each gift she got from his mom and her own family.
When she had finished opening all of her gifts, his mom allowed him to finally open his. “Christmas comes before your birthday, so she gets to open hers first.” His mother had explained. The one gift he received was in a small cardboard box that he was quickly able to rip open. His excitement made him nearly miss the card on top. Once he read it carefully, he set it aside to pull the tiny familiar box from inside the packaging. It was an Apple IPhone 5c. She was more excited about it that he seemed to be. He currently carried a slide phone by Samsung that she had bought him that summer used on Ebay. Technology wasn’t something he cared much about, fine without the extra monthly fee that a smart phone would entail. He was more excited about a painting he had on hold at an antique shop that his mom had promised to help him pay for. His brother hadn’t been too excited about the thought of hitting a bunch of thrift shops all day long, but still had hopes to later eat at a popular steak house chain in town.
After getting his painting, he was in a great mood. His mom was able to talk him into going to US Cellular to set up his new phone. The line didn’t seem too long when they walked in, however, it took over an hour to get everything up and running. She was excited to teach him how to use his IPhone, since she herself carried the 4S her mother had given her, since her mom had gotten the 5S for Christmas.
They collaboratively decided to go to the mall to browse around. His mom had a knack for finding great deals and turning them around for a profit on Ebay. He and she made a pit stop at Kay Jewelers to see if her bracelet was back yet, since it had broken randomly a few weeks prior. To her dismay, it was still being repaired. After a few more stores, they made their way to Teavana. He and she were intrigued by the delightful flavors of the samples they offered, trying all of them. The reason they really wanted to stop in was due to the brightly colored sign out front indicating that there was a 75% off sale going on for select teas. His mom bought herself a tin along with a large tea infuser pitcher that was marked 75% off. He and she picked out an on-sale flavor, buying seven ounces, a tin, and a large pitcher as well. His mom was nice enough to pay for the tin and tea leaving them to pay solely for the pitcher. They had to have spent close to an hour in the store, in an attempt to get the most for their money, while the sale was going on.
Hunger overcame the group as they made their way back to his mom’s car. The steak joint was right down the street, which even then didn’t seem close enough. Shopping had worked up a large appetite for everyone. He ordered a large Porterhouse, excited to get a good cut of steak that wasn’t on his dime. His conscience made him wish his mother had taken them somewhere cheaper. He and she played around together on his phone, trying to get a good picture together but the lighting wouldn’t allow it.
The table was filled with more food than they all could consume, as the waitress returned with several take home boxes. His mom took a small bite of her youngest son’s steak. “Oh…That seasoning tastes like crap.” His mom’s face twisted in disgust, indicating that it tasted nothing like the chain by them did. From her own curiosity, she asked the waitress if they had changed the recipe recently. The woman took this as a complaint, which was clear when she came back over to them with the manager. The man apologized many times, asking how to make it right and get them to someday return. “I wasn’t asking to complain. I was just curious since it doesn’t taste like the one back in my hometown does.” His mom expressed kindly to the manager. He still ended up offering them free appetizer and dessert coupons, while also comping one of the two Porterhouse steaks that were ordered.
After dinner, they headed back to his apartment to drop he and she off and to also say their goodbyes. Once his mom and brother left, she began to try on pajamas and clothes his mom had bought her. She carefully cut the tags off, making sure to dispose of them all. Apparently, some still had gotten away from her. “Babe, what’s wrong with Peyton?” He asked, his tone becoming frantic. Peyton looked as though she was gagging on something but not yet choking. He tried opening her mouth and looked inside but saw nothing. On the second attempt, he thought he saw a plastic tag caught in her throat. “Why would you leave something like that on the floor? I told you that something like this could happen!” He exclaimed, sounding even more upset. She began to panic, calling the emergency vet and asking if they could assist. Their only option was to bring her in and since it was after hours, they doubled the normal cost of $44 to $88.
In the car, tension was high. They tried to stay calm for Peyton’s sake, since she was trembling in her lap, occasionally crying. The vet felt 100 miles away as they had a couple heated conversations about money and who was at fault. When they finally arrived at the vet, they were told to wait, even though she had called 20 minutes prior to let them know she would be there. Tension was still rising as they sat in the tiny, musty room with Peyton roaming around on the linoleum floor, making odd flicking motions with her tongue in an attempt to free whatever was stuck in her mouth.
The male vet came in, examining her and finding nothing. “I know my cat, and I know she doesn’t do that with her tongue ever.” He expressed. When the vet finally noticed what he was talking about, the nurse came in to accompany him in holding Peyton down, to extract whatever was stuck in her mouth. She remained in the chair, on the brink of crying, feeling the whole situation was her fault.
“Oh! Here it is!” The vet explained, pulling a small, clear plastic disc from underneath Peyton’s tongue. Relief drenched he and she, though she still felt shaken up. They would have been devastated to lose one of their babies. It would have crushed them from the inside out. On the way home, she was silent, worried by his reaction to the whole situation.
“Babe, I am really sorry about how I acted. It wasn’t your fault.” She nodded silently as he apologized several more times on the way back to his apartment.
When they got home, she thoroughly vacuumed the floor. After everything was 100% clean, they shared a bottle of wine, relived to have helped Peyton and possibly saved her from choking. The money was worth it to know that she would be safe. It wasn’t exactly the day they had planned, but it still ended in the way it always did and always should; stronger in love than the day before.