Originally published in Wigleaf
While browsing a souvenir shop in the airport terminal, the man who'd flown across an ocean encouraged his new bride, a woman he'd selected from a photograph in a catalog, to assist him in choosing a gift to bring home to his mother.
Anyone paying attention to these newlyweds could see they were not yet in sync with one another, nor were they completely comfortable in each other's presence.
They made their way along the souvenir-filled aisles. He led, she followed. Occasionally, the man stopped and removed an item from one of the shelves. Turning toward his new bride, he asked her what she thought.
Because she always nodded, he very gently took her hands in his and explained to her that he did not expect her to agree with everything he said.
Still, each time he asked his new bride's opinion regarding a snow globe or metal trinket that replicated some well-known local landmark, she smiled and nodded. If he placed a printed t-shirt or baseball cap into her hands, she smiled and nodded.
Toward the rear of the shop the couple paused in front of a display filled with wooden figurines. Most of the carvings were of native people clad in traditional attire. The man and his new wife stared long at one particular figurine: a dark wood carving of a native woman wrapped in a native dress. Held in front of the wooden woman was a straw basket brimming over with a sampling of local fruit.
The man bent and when he removed the carving from the shelf, its wooden head shivered on its coil and began to bob up and down, up and down.
Startled, he turned to face his new wife. She was staring down at the toes of the new shoes he'd bought her.
Replacing the figurine on the shelf, he said, "No. I don't care for it either. Let's see if we can't find an interesting keychain instead."