NEW REVIEWS: Well Michelle, you have not disappointed us. Each of your stories maintains that
"no- wasted-words" style and warm, inviting enjoyment as your first. You are indeed a fine addition to
the Literary Masters, Inc. Website and we hope you will continue to grace this Website with many more
of your fine writings. ****__Jean Ann Morgan.

This is so-o-o-o delicious. Thank you Michelle for sharing some of the visions of your exciting mind with
\us between operations for shoulder surgery. Can't wait to see how the "bo-ho-oys" will review this piece.
A special thanks to the "Cash" for relentlessly finding new, important writers for this wonderful Website.
How else would we be able to enjoy the raw, scintillating writings of Anthony Gullatta and the understated
humor of one Michell Z. Banda. *****__Barbaqra A Sabo.

Okay, I'll jump in. This is indeed one of the best so far from Michelle Banda. Her crisp writing style and
willingness to proffer a smile via a well known circumstance or behavior is at its peak here as we are left
chuckling under our breath after receiving a swift kick in the pants. Well done, Michelle. There, you see, I
did it. ****__Captain Apple Jack.

Great story Michelle! I loved the part about Anna Marie waiting a year to enjoy her full share of the
fortunes of her marriage. As my mother used to say, "Patience is a virtue!" Was sort of a kick in the pants
though . . . after 50 years its kinda sad. Good lesson for us guys. Need to pay better attention to our good
fortune (wives and families) while we have it. ****__David W. Carpenter.
Literary Masters, Inc.
Publicists for Short Stories, Books, Poems and Songs
Long Island, New York 11971
“50th Anniversary”
By Michelle Z. Banda
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Rated "
PG" by the author
Do Not Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Can Do Today.
It was 10 p.m. Hugo said good night to Anna Maria.

She was watching TV, something about revolution in Venezuela, so he went to bed. Tomorrow was going to
be a big day. It was his last day of work. Fifty years with the federal government. Fifty years of flying out of
town for weeks on end. Fifty years of interviews, meetings, and heavy briefcases. Fifty years of a wonderful
marriage to Anna Maria. She was going to be so surprised when she found out that special occasion he had
saved for and planned for her.

Tomorrow it would all be over. Not that he didn’t like it. He had enjoyed his career, his travels and his
marriage. He felt blessed. His father had had a tough life as an unskilled laborer. Whenever Hugo was a bit
discouraged or upset, he thought about his overworked and underpaid father. He thanked God for his own
good life, and for the fact that he had been able to make his dad’s last years comfortable. With the help of
Anna Maria, his father had died in  peace.

Now his two children were married and had their own careers. Anna Maria kept busy with, among other
things, her bridge club but most importantly her cooking. She had tried to get him interested in bridge, but
without success. Hugo was content with his own Friday night poker group. His ability to understand the
rules of poker much stronger than the rules of bridge.

So, this Friday morning he went to work for the very last time. Those who knew him well would miss him.
Hugo was a genuinely nice guy. He never had an unkind word or mean-spirited thing to say about anyone.
Some people might have thought he was a little dull, but he was intelligent, a hard worker, and a team
player. He had taken only three weeks of sick leave in 50 years.

A small group of fellow employees took him out to lunch. When he returned from lunch, the whole office
gathered around for cake, ice cream, a farewell card, and a few short speeches. They presented him with
various going-away gifts, including a big, paperback US atlas. It listed all the motels, campgrounds, national
parks, tourist spots, and other information to help guide a leisurely traveler throughout his good ol' days
in the good ol' US of A.

He had told his friends that he and Anna Maria were going to spend a couple of years visiting all the places
that he never had gotten to explore while there on business. He had selected each one carefully from his
various itineraries over the past 50 years. Then as a final gift, his supervisor had told him to take the rest
of the day off.

Anna Maria's car wasn’t in the driveway when he got home. She was probably shopping for some traveling
clothes. Maybe she was arranging a dinner at a restaurant that evening for just the two of them. Although
But something was wrong. When he hung up his jacket, he saw that the bedroom closet was half empty.
Anna Maria's clothes were gone. Her shoes were not on the floor. Her blouses and sweaters were not
hanging up on her side of the closet or on  her side of the shelf. Confused, he looked around the bedroom.

He discovered an envelope on the lamp stand. Inside it were two pieces of paper. One notified him of a
divorce proceeding. The other was a hand-written note from Anna Maria.

“I’m so sorry,” it began. She said that her lawyer had told her to wait until today. If she had sought divorce
a year earlier, like her boyfriend had suggested, she would not have been able to qualify for 50 percent of
Hugo's pension fund. She hoped that he would find it in his heart to forgive her. She felt terrible about all
this, she wrote, because “you’ve been so good to me. But I can’t ignore my own heart any longer.”

Hugo sat immobile on the edge of the bed. Her note was in his hand; her voice was in his ears; her words
were burning inside his brain. Time must have passed.

Maybe an hour later, the phone rang. His heart leaped inside his chest. Surly it was Anna Maria. Asking for
forgiveness, which he would immediately give. After 50 years there was so much they could finally do
together now.

He picked up the phone on the fifth ring. It was Fred, wondering if he was going to play poker tonight.

                                          ©2016 Michelle Z. Banda [All Rights Reserved]
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