I could hear the faint notes of a Frank Sinatra song as soon as I stepped out of the lift. Our front door was slightly ajar and the strains of music propelled me forwards into the dimmed apartment. On our dining table, candles flickered and two ruby-red roses, stolen from an arrangement I had in a vase in the kitchen, rested on two plates.
I found my husband in the kitchen, sniffing a sprig of mint. Wearing my apron and brandishing my favourite wooden cooking utensil, he seemed right at home, singing along with Sinatra. In the fridge, a salad chilled, and on the stove, our leftovers simmered.
I, of course, immediately became suspicious.
"What's going on?" I demanded.
He immediately adopted an offended air. "What does it look like? I'm preparing a surprise for my favourite working girl."
Clue number one: he couldn't look me in the eye. Clue number 2: he was a little too fast in hugging me, so I wasn't able to get a good look at his face.
"Want to make the dressing for the salad? It needs your golden touch."
Clue number three: he was being very generous with the compliments.
I strode out of the kitchen and began exploring the rest of the house. Everything seemed in order, all was in place. If he had caused any household disasters, he had hidden or mended them quite well.
Mr T huffed and puffed in indignation. "I can't believe you think I have an ulterior motive. Is it so far-fetched that I would want to surprise you with a romantic meal?"
Eventually, I began to feel a little guilty. He seemed to have pure intentions. I apologised and thanked him for the surprise, which I could finally appreciate. We sang and danced in the kitchen while I showed him how to make the perfect vinaigrette. I headed to the fridge to get the salad bowl. Except I was accosted on the way.
"Wait! I'll get the salad," he said, grabbing my arms a little too forcefully. I shook him off. What was wrong with my docile husband? I ignored him and yanked open the fridge door.
I was immediately hit with the strong, pungent stench of eggs. The fridge reeked. Indeed, I realised under the scent of dinner, the entire kitchen reeked.
My eyes immediately went to the fridge door where our eggs usually nestle in their special containers. Gone. Mr T began to mumble, explaining that a freak accident had resulted in nine eggs falling to the floor. An hour's worth of cleanup barely made a dent. Mr T's only option was to heat the leftovers - and light some scented candles - and hope that they'd mask the smell.
The entire episode was an excellent lesson in remembering always to heed my first instincts. Next time I come home to a "surprise", I am going to launch a full interrogation.