The Box

This is a short story, or I guess a vignette, that I intended for the Valentine’s day contest.

February 6]th, 2018

Jacob hesitated only a moment before clicking “order.” But as soon as he did, he started to feel anxious. He had done it before, and never gotten caught, but he always wondered when his luck would run out. He did the math in his head: 5-7 business days. That would easily fall on Saturday, when his wife was at her meeting, or on Monday or Tuesday when she was at work. He should be safe. Even if he got called in, she wouldn’t check the mail before he got home.
No one knew this about him, but for as long as he could remember, he had a thing for diapers. He had never felt comfortable telling his wife, but he had made some jokes here and there and she had laughed. Still, this, he knew, was going further. He never spent actual money on his interest, just ordered the free samples when he could. He had already ordered from this company, so he had used Michelle’s name.
So far he had been able to hide it from his wife. He hated hiding it from her, but he knew she wouldn’t go for it. Sometimes he could forget about it, other times it seemed like an obsession. And now was one of those times. But he had done the math, he was safe.

February 12th, 2018

Michelle walked home from work for lunch. She smiled. It had been cold for so long and was finally warming up. The four block walk was just enough, not too long, not too short, for her to enjoy it, have time to sit and eat, and walk back.
As she got closer to her home on the cul-de-sac, she noticed a box on the porch. She hadn’t ordered anything, but maybe Jacob had got her something for Valentine’s day. She picked it up. It said it was to her. That was weird.
As she came inside she set the box down. She was curious, but didn’t want to open it if it was a Valentine’s gift. But then again, why would Jacob put her name on it if he had ordered something? She gave in to her temptation and opened the box.
Inside was a smaller blue box. And as she opened that box, she had to laugh. Inside was a set of three adult diapers. She wondered why someone would send something like that to her. She knew Jacob made jokes about it but he wouldn’t have really done that, would he?
If she was honest, she had always been curious about diapers. She would never admit it to Jacob, not after all his jokes, but she kind of wanted to try one on. Jacob wouldn’t know, right? Then again, she didn’t know if she could bring herself to actually try. So she set it down on the table and started to make her lunch. She checked the clock. She had time for one episode of House Hunters as she ate.
As she ate, she kept glancing at the box, wondering. But soon enough, the episode was over, and it was time to head back to work. And it was a nice day, so she was looking forward to the walk.

Jacob pulled into the driveway and unlocked the door. He started to set his stuff down from the day and was about to get into the shower like he always did after work when he noticed the box sitting on the table. He wondered if Michelle had gotten him something for Valentine’s Day, but when he investigated it, he realized what it was. And he panicked. What did Michelle think? Was she mad at him?
He calmed down and decided to give her a call. But her phone didn’t pick up. He tried again. Nothing.
He was starting to think the worst. She had figured it out, was angry, and wasn’t talking to him.
He again calmed himself down and got in the shower. As he showering he heard the phone ring. He tried to get done quickly, barely even drying off before he called back.
“Hey, how are you?” he said.
“Good. I love you too. I’ve been thinking about you.”
“Oh, really, what about?”
“About Valentine’s Day.”
Jacob laughed in his head. That could mean a hundred things. So he replied, “How’s work?”
“Slow. And yours?”
Jacob said, “Slow.”
“So are you about to get into the shower?”
“Yeah. I’ll do that then read for a bit, then get dinner ready.”
“Sounds perfect. Thanks.”
“Welcome.”
There was a pause.
“I was about to head upstairs to the shower when I noticed the box on the table. The interesting piece of mail.”
Michelle laughed, “Yeah. I can’t believe we got that. I thought maybe you sent it to me as a joke, but decided there is no way you did that.”
“Right. I didn’t send it to you. You must be on some list or have clicked something.” It was half true, Jacob thought. He had sent it for himself. She was on a list, since he had given the company her information. But he hated fibbing like that. At least she wasn’t mad.
“I figured. We can just donate it or toss it in the trash on Wednesday.”
“Sounds good.”
“Well, I better get back to work and let you shower.”
“Alright, I love you”
“Love you too. Bye”

Jacob sighed a sigh of relief. She wasn’t angry. She was amused. He couldn’t get away with wearing them like he wanted, but their relationship was okay, which is what matters.

That night, they followed their normal routine. When Michelle got home, Jacob had dinner ready. Nothing fancy this time, chicken and rice, but it was a hot meal. They always said they should watch less TV and even had a finished puzzle done in the guest room, with another one ready to be started. But they always felt so worn out at the end of the day, and so they sat in front of the TV. It was mostly reruns right now, so they turned on Star Trek. They had been going through it when nothing else sounded good.
Jacob stole a few glances at the box, wondering if there was any way to get a chance to wear them.
Michelle stole a few glances at the box, wondering if there was any way to get a chance to try one. And wondering if she really wanted to.
Around the end of the second episode, it was about 9:00.
Jacob paused the show and got up to use the bathroom and grab a snack. Before he could sit back down, Michelle said, “My turn.” But she didn’t get up.
“What’s the problem?”
“It’s cold. And I’m nestled, nice and warm. I don’t want to get up.”
Jacob was trying to make a conscience effort to joke less about the diapers. But they were right there. So he grabbed one and said, “You could always put one of these on.”
Michelle laughed, but then gave him a look. “They’d probably leak, and you don’t want that.”
Jacob thought, “That’s true,” as Michelle sighed and went into the bathroom. Jacob put the diaper back in the box. And at the end of the third episode they finally went to bed.

February 13th, 2018
The box still sat on the table. As the couple settled in to watch more Star Trek, that night with a chicken pot pie from Walmart, both stole glances, both thinking about trying one, trying to figure out a way to do so that might make sense to the other. But neither said anything. Neither could draw up the nerve to admit what they really wanted. And so the box sat.

February 14[SUP]th[/SUP], 2018

Both Jacob and Michelle were up early, getting ready for their day. Like normal for Wednesday, Jacob started to gather up all the trash from the house in order to take their large can to the curb. Then he started gathering the recyclables. A few pieces of cardboard, some loose paper he had made job hunt notes on, and the used toilet paper rolls were the normal items.
But today he had to do deal with the diapers too. He asked Michelle as she was brushing her teeth, “Are we actually going donate the diapers or should they go in the trash too?”
There was a pause. Michelle thought for a moment. If she said they would donate them, then that gave her longer to figure out how to get away with trying one. But if she didn’t work up the nerve, she would have to take diapers to the food pantry and explain that.
Jacob thought as Michelle took her time. He wondered which would be better. Donating them meant he couldn’t try and wear one anyway. Throwing them away got them out of the house.
Finally Michelle said, “Just pitch them. It’s the easiest and gets rid of them before we have any guests.”

So Jacob picked up the box, wondered about hiding one somehow, but tossed it in the last trash bag and tied the bag up, taking it to the curve.

The rest of the day Jacob wondered about what could have been. If he had got to the box first. Or if he could be more bold and try and tell Michelle his feelings.
Michelle laughed, glad that the box was gone. It was weird how curious she had gotten. She wondered how she might explain that to Jacob. Telling her husband, “I want to try wearing diapers…” she couldn’t even imagine that.
When they came home from work that night, they exchanged Valentine’s Day gifts. A few new books for Jacob, some new clothes and a DVD for Michelle. They had a lovely evening, enjoying the privileges of being married on Valentine’s day, and both truly felt loved by the other.
But they both kept their secret thoughts to themselves.