The Gift

By Louder

Donald was a jealous man. Even more so with the events of the past few days. His wife, Janice, had taken to disappearing quite a lot of late. At first he didn't think much about it, but as he noticed other changes he became more suspicious. She seemed to be becoming more concerned about her appearence. She was obviously coloring her greying hair. Although she never mentioned it, Donald could see the changes occuring slowly. He figured she thought he wouldn't notice if she did it slowly. Her hair was only streaked with grey now. Their family room had been converted to a workout gym. Once again, Donald didn't think much about it at first. After all, Janice had just turned 50 and seemed to be having problems adjusting. Lately, she seemed to be haunted by her decision not to have children when she was younger.

Donald figured it was all related to her turning 50. At least he did until she started spending even more time away from home.... and spending more money. Her wardrobe seemed to increase more in that last few days than it had in their whole marriage!

Everything about her seemed to change. Her taste in makeup, her hair, clothes, even her personality. While Donald didn't mind her being happy, he thought she might be TOO happy! He finally decided to have her followed. He wasn't surprised when the private investigator brought him the pictures. His wife was seeing a younger man! Some pictures merely showed her entering his office building, while others would show them together at restaurants or in his car. Everything began to make sense to Donald. She was trying to make herself look good for her new beau! As much as he loved her, he still wasn't going to play the role of a fool. He would wait for a good opportunity to confront her with all of the evidence he had collected plus whatever else the P.I. could dig up. He knew he had the upper hand and only needed to find the best time to 'play' it!

The more he thought about, it the madder he became! He could hardly contain his anger as he wondered what she saw in a younger man. "That BITCH!" he grumbled aloud "I gave her the best years of my life and she just rips my heart out for some kid!"

"I see it all the time, Donald. In this business you learn not to be surprised. To tell you the truth, it's the first thing we look for." The P.I. calmy told him.

It was still early in the afternoon and the P.I. had given Donald plenty to think about. Why? How could she do it? ...His mind raced with many random thoughts as he drove home. The only thing he knew for certain was that he didn't want her to know that she had been found out.... not just yet! Odds were good that the P.I. would find even more damaging evidence. Donald was always faithful and the last thing he wanted was some other man living with his wife under the roof of the house he had built! He'd fight her tooth and nail all the way!

Once home, he was greeted by Janice, who was oblivious to the storm that was raging within her husband. He had to bite his tongue in order not to unleash a stream of profanity.

'My God' he thought to himself 'The bitch does look good for her age! If I didn't know any better, I'd never guess her to be 50. Too bad she's doing it for another guy!'

"I've been working out pretty hard this afternoon so I don't have anything ready for your dinner. There are some TV dinners in the freezer." she told him without reservation

Donald seethed. "TV DINNERS? You expect me to eat a TV DINNER?!!!?"

"I'm sorry, Donald... I lost track of time! I'll fix you something. I thought you ~liked~ TV dinners. I'll draw myself a bath and then I'll put something together for you"

"Hmmmph.... yeah, whatever. All right." he answered. Truth was, he did like TV dinners but didn't like the idea of his wife going to so much trouble for her boyfriend while he gets a 5 minute meal from the microwave!

She made her way upstairs to draw her bath and Donald followed her. As the water began to fill the tub she put a drop of something in the water. Donald could see her from the bedroom. He pretended to look through the closet for something comfortable to wear but as soon as she left the bathroom he entered to investigate.

Her medicine cabinet was filled with vitamins and skin creams. He also saw a small glass container with a dropper in it. It was nearly full with a clear liquid. He shook his head in disgust at all the things she used... just to look better for her ~boyfriend~. "What's this shit?" he asked himself as he picked up the bottle. Whatever it was, she had used a drop in the water. "This shit probably cost me $100.....fancy little bottle of shit!" He sniffed the contents. "Probably plain old water...." he mumbled as his blood pressure began to rise.

"Be a dear and turn my water off will you?" his wife yelled up to him.

"Sure thing!" he replied with a scowl.

"Thank you!" she yelled back in reply.

"~Right~" he answered under his breath "Well, if a little of this is good.... a lot ought to be better!" he said as he emptied the contents of the container into the water. He then refilled the container out of the tap. "Damn snake oil!"

He closed the door and headed to the kitchen.

"Here you go!" she said and slid him a plate with hamburger and fries. "Enjoy it."

"Aren't you going to eat too?"

"No, I had a salad earlier... I best get my bath out of the way before the water gets cold."

Donald took his meal to the living room and turned on the TV. As he finished up his meal he heard his wife draining the tub. A few moments later and he heard her rummaging through the closet. 'Probably gonna meet her 'fellow' tonight' he figured. He seethed some more.

He heard her enter the room but was going to ignore her.... but he caught a glimpse of the bright dress she was wearing. It was a summer dress and a bit more revealing than what she usually wore. Obviously, it was something new. Still trying not to be obvious, he glimpsed her darker, shinier hair. In fact he didn't see any grey in it at all! Finally, he had to get a better look. He thought his eyes must be playing tricks on him. He looked straight up at his wife. Her hair WAS dark. The grey was gone. All gone! But that wasn't the biggest surprise..... she easily looked 10 years younger! The dress revealed much more muscle tone than his 50 year old wife should have. Even with her workout routine, this was too dramatic and sudden! Her skin even looked smoother and tighter.

She sit down across from him and crossed her legs. "What're you watching?" she asked.

He stammered. "Ummmm I'm not sure....Oh! You mean on TV? It's uhhhh I don't know." Donald didn't know what to say. What he was seeing wasn't possible.

"It looks like a race...." Janice told him.

"Uh... I think it's just highlights" he answered as he studied her. She even looked younger than moments before! What few varicose veins that had been remaining on her legs were now faded. The skin around her eyes and mouth didn't seem to be as deeply creased as before. As he stared, they seemed to be fading away.

"What are you staring at?" she asked.

He wanted to say something but wasn't sure what to say! 'Could he be going crazy?' he wondered. "N, Nothing..." he finally answered and looked away. He quickly looked back, wondering if everything would somehow be back to normal. It wasn't. Janice looked to be 35 years old at most. Her figure was taking on a more defined and youthful look. Her eyes seemed brighter.

She sat her glasses down as she watched the TV. Donald noticed her setting them down. It was as if she could see the TV better without them now.

"I really feel good this evening!" she stated.

That didn't surprise Donald. He figured if he suddenly turned 20 years younger he would feel pretty good also! That is when he realized what was happening. 'The snake oil.' the thought to himself 'It's the damn snake oil doing it!' He didn't know how it was doing it, but the snake oil was why his wife had been so much happier lately. Whatever that potion or elixir was, it was for real. She wasn't just trying to look younger for her boyfriend, she was actually making herself younger!

And younger she was! She was looking more and more youthful all the time. Easily ready to cross back into her 20's...if she hadn't already! If she told someone that she was 29 they would believe her without batting an eye. On the other hand, if she told that same person that she was a 50 year old house-wife they would laugh.

Donald guessed that his wife had slowly been using the formula to make herself a little younger every few days or so without raising much suspicion. But he figured by his pouring the whole bottle in the water she had effectively overdosed. He wondered how young she would become. The younger the better! If that young stud wanted his wife, he could have her.... as soon as she was old enough!

Janice didn't seem to notice the changes. It was as if everything was happening too fast for her to realize it. But Donald noticed. His 50 year old wife only looked half her age. All the lines on her face were gone. Even the fine lines around her eyes had finally dissolved away.

"What do you see in all those cars going 'round in circles?" she asked in a slightly higher and clearer voice.

"I don't know. I just like it. But we can watch something else if you want"

"Is Laugh In on tonight?" she asked "It's not boring like those cars!" she said as she squirmed a bit in her seat and fidgeted with her hair. Her 22 year old body was filling with youthful energy. She could easily fit in with a group of college students without any questions being asked.

Janice became more and more impatient as she youthened. The energy seemed to be building up inside of her. She started bouncing her leg and then began dangle her now loose pump on the end of her foot. Now, only 20, Janice was about to re-enter her teenage years.

"Those cars are BOR-RING!" she whined.

Donald, meanwhile, was enjoying the view. He hadn't known Janice when she was this age. He wished he had! She was very pretty and seemed to bubble with excitement. Her eyes were bright and she seemed very innocent. Soon, if the elixir kept working, she would be a schoolgirl. Perfect for lots of trouble with her young stud! Donald picked up the remote and flipped through the channels ending up on TV Land.

"Groovy! Leave it there!" the teenaged Janice said as she saw an old show that looked new to her!

Donald was still mad at her, but found it increasingly harder to be mad at the innocent girl in front of him. By this point, her dress was getting much looser. Her features were rounding and she looked to be getting thinner. He figured she was 17... but barely. And she was still getting younger. He didn't see any sign of the process slowing. Even though it was difficult to be very mad at the girl in front of him, all he had to do was think about the pictures that the private eye had shown him and the rage would come rushing back. His mind wandered as he thought about her two-timing him. How sweet the revenge he thought!

-Plunk-

Looking to see what the sound was, he saw that the 16 year old girl's pump had fallen off. She looked surprised at the loose fit as she slipped it back on but didn't say anything. As the time passed she began to look more like a child than the woman she had been.

Janice passed from sweet 16 to 15, her body growing skinnier by the minute. "Ummm I'm gonna get, like, a Coke or somethin'. Want one?" she asked as she got up.

"Ohhh yeah...sure" he answered.

"Ok, I'll be right back" she told him in a high teenaged voice. She tugged on the straps of her dress and kicked at her shoes trying to keep them from falling off. The bottom of the dress was much closer to the ground as her body had obviously lost some height.

"What a surprise for that homewrecking stud!" Donald quietly said in a victorious voice.

In the kitchen, Janice had trouble reaching the glasses on the highest shelf. Even in her pumps, and standing on her toes, the glasses were almost out of reach. She decided she must have scooted them too far back the last time she washed dishes. She got the glasses down and filled them with Coke. She again had to straighten her ever larger dress. The pumps were even harder to keep on as she returned to the living room.

"Here ya go" the 14 year old said as she handed Donald his drink. Donald was shocked to see the scrawny young teen that Janice had become. She stumbled and almost tripped in the ill-fitting shoes. "Dumb ol' shoes!" the 13 year old said as she easily kicked them off. "I guess I must've, like, bought 'em too big or got the wrong size in the box or somethin'"

Apparently the regression was causing her mind to somehow rationalize everything. 'It was perfect' Donald thought! He'd love to see the look on that young stud's face if he could see Janice now!

Janice squirmed in her seat as she drank her cola. Her hair looked to be getting thinner. Her feminine curves soon totally disappeared. Donald figured she was 11 and still going! Just a skinny pre-adolescent girl. Even better for that bastard homewrecker! Freckles appeared on the bridge of her nose. He watched as her feet slowly lifted from the floor as her legs continued to shrink. She was 7 now...maybe! Her features were rounding more and more and her voice was now that of a child. She had to use both hands to hold her glass of soda pop.

She set her drink aside and began studying her seemingly growing dress. "This dress ain't fittin' good" she said as she pulled on the material. The dress seemed to swallow the 6 year old.

"It looks like you must've gotten the wrong size maybe?" Donald told her while he pictured handing the child to her boyfriend.

"Ummmmmm I dunno. It's a dumb ol' dress anyway!" 5 year old Janice replied as she fidgeted with it and kicked at the skirt.

Donald was amazed at the transformation of his wife into a child.....And it served her right he figured! 4 year old Janice seemed enthralled with her dress and Donald watched the final stages of her regression in amazement.

"Dress too big!" the 3 year old said as she tried to poke her arms out of the large garment. Once she did get an arm free she slowly brought her pudgy hand up to her mouth. Soon, the 2 year old was happily sucking on her thumb.

"This is PERFECT!" Donald said aloud, no longer worried about Janice wondering what was happening. At that moment, the phone rang. Donald picked it up. It was the private eye.

-"Donald, hey listen.... I got some good news for you..."-

"Oh? Let's hear it!" Donald told him, ready to hear some more dirt.

-"It seems that young fellow your wife has been seeing is a research guy. She's been using an experimental youth formula. It sounds weird, but it's true...."-

"No, I believe you. I didn't know where it came from but I found out about it!" he answered, feeling he had scooped the P.I.

-"You do know about it then? Great... I'm glad it worked out for you. Sometimes we jump to conclusions. Who would've thought it? He was only helping her become young again so she could be the same age as she was when you were first married.... as a present for you on your anniversary! ..."-

The next sound the investigator heard was the sound of the phone hitting the floor.... followed by the cries of a newborn.

THE END

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Last modified: Monday August 09, 1999.