Winner of our first short story contest

The Day
By Ellie Yambrach,

I sat by the maple tree and took off my back pack. I pulled out a blanket, set it out on the grass, and lay down. Gazing at the sky my eyelids grew heavy; I drifted.
Solitude and peace.
Then came the words, angry and furious.
“How could you?”
“Why would you do that?”
“You spent it all?”
“You’re so selfish!”
He was angry at me. SO angry. And I did not have answers.
My consciousness stirred, the argument faded. A cool breeze pulled me out of the turbulence. My eyes opened; the dread from the dream stayed with me.
I tried to shake the feeling. This was to be a good day. We were having good days. I wasn’t going to let a dream ruin the celebration I had planned.
I checked the time. He was going to arrive soon. I told him it was a surprise. I gave him specific directions where to find me at the park.
I unzipped the other side of the backpack. One by one, I pulled out the delicacies he liked. Brie cheese, a French baguette, Greek olives, an assortment of charcuterie, a bottle of pinot noir, two wine glasses and two of the most beautiful Gala apples I could find. This was to be a celebration.
I reached into the bag one more time to be sure I had everything. My fingers touched a piece of paper. I grabbed hold of it. My eyes recognized it immediately; my dream was predicting a disastrous event.
Or replaying it.
Between my fingers was a baseball ticket. The date June 28, 2009. This same day, eight years ago, his birthday.
We had been going through a rough patch, arguing about everything; work, family, household chores. Mostly we argued about money, because we had so little. But, he loved baseball and I wanted to make everything better by taking him to the game for his birthday. I checked out our account. We had enough. I bought the tickets; seats a few rows right behind home base. He was going to be so surprised!
But when I met him at the Metro and told him where we were going he became upset. He asked what the tickets cost and how I got the money.
Then he revealed to me that he had been putting the money aside to take me on a long weekend for my birthday next month. It was so sweet what he had planned!
But he was mad. So mad that I had spent the money first! Now, he didn’t know what to do for my birthday.
He complained that I spent money on an event that would take an afternoon, whereas his plans were for us to spend a long weekend together. I explained that I wanted something special for him just as he wanted something special for me.
But he wouldn’t give it up, and that made me furious.
By the time we got to the stadium, we were both enraged.
At the entrance I handed him his ticket. He looked at it with a disdainful smirk.
“Fine!” I said.
I ripped my ticket to shreds.
“I don’t’ want to go. You don’t appreciate what I do for you.”
He placed his ticket back in my hand.
“Neither of us will go then.”
He walked away.
I imagined an afternoon of cheering and holding hands and sitting with his arm around me. Now, with his back to me, he strode around the corner, alone.
I didn’t go after him.
I shoved the ticket into my backpack, and walked in the opposite direction.
For a long time we didn’t talk. But when we did, we realized we wanted to give each other something special from the little we had. The incident deepened our love and understanding of each other.
A cool powerful wind swept up and blew around me in circles bringing my thoughts back to the day; this day.
My heart filled at the sight of him making his way towards me. I had news.
Between my fingers was an unpleasant reminder. I raised my hand and released the ticket and let it flutter away in a current of air.

Author: Ken Weiss

Transitioning during 2016 from import/export consulting to writing. Most interested in fiction, food and travel subjects. Have lived in six countries and traveled to eighty; can communicate in English, Spanish and French. Member of Rotary Club, Stanford MBA association, and other organizations.