My wife has left me.
Ok, you could say I drove her to it.
My children would.
So too would her friends.
And there's a lot of truth in that.
It started about six weeks ago.
"I want a party for my 50th birthday," she says. "And I'd like you to buy me a laptop as a birthday present."
So, I ignore her, as is my wont. I send out the party invitations, choose the menu, and buy her a present of my choice. Then I start losing sleep. I call in on a friend of hers.
"What's wrong?" she asks.
"I keep waking up in the middle of the night in a sweat," I say. "I'm cooking for sixty, plus I didn't get my wife the birthday present she wants."
"Relax!" she says. "Don't worry. Just pace yourself!"
So, I pace myself. By Saturday, I have enough food prepared to feed an army.
The guests arrive in.
My eldest daughter hands my wife the first of her presents.
"It feels like a book," she says as she removes the wrapping.
"I hope it's not your new novel, Adrian," my friend Eric shouts, and I smile stoically because that's what first-time writers have to do. (But just wait till I'm famous, Eric!)
"It's P.D. James," my wife announces, much relieved.
"I had been thinking of E.L. James," I say. "Fifty Shades of Grey ... but ..."
Her friends howl and catcall.
I hand her her next present - sandals. Then sun-cream, then a sun-hat, then a dress.
"I think I know where this is going," she says.
Half the room knows where this is going, and has done so for weeks.
I hand her another present: a purse.
"Open the zip compartment, mummy," my middle child cries out.
She opens it.
"Fifty dollars!" my wife declares.
Time for the next present, I decide.
"A passport!" she exclaims. "My passport!" she says, in shock.
It's time for the big one. I hand her her last present.
"It's a voucher for something," she says, "but I can't make it out. I need my glasses to see it."
"It's for Specsavers!" one of her friends calls out.
Lots more laughter.
"New York!" my wife exclaims, now squinting at the print on the page.
"No, it's not," I say, taking it from her to read it. "It's a one-way ticket ...."
"... to San Francisco."
"What?! San Francisco?!" my wife says in shock. "Who? When?"
"You," I say. "Tomorrow. For twelve days."
"Tomorrow?!" my wife exclaims. "But, how can we afford this?"
"Money-laundering," I say. "Only kidding. The new floor in the kitchen can wait."
"A self-serving present if ever there was one!" a male friend whispers into my ear moments later - joking, I think. "You've really raised the bar for the rest of us," another male friend says.
"What will your wife do about her washing? What about her packing?" a woman friend asks.
"It's done," I say.
"I want one of those," a friend of my wife's says, pointing over at me.
"One of what?" her husband asks.
"A stay-at-home husband!"
Love, if you read this, I'm sorry. I'll do as I'm told next time. I should have bought you that laptop. Please come back home! The kids are driving me mad.