The reactions to the last entry were pleasantly diverse. I’m loath to tell you, dear reader, how to engage the material in this blog. However, I feel that I would do well to remind those of you who know me personally that these pieces are neither journalism nor the records from my journal. These are lightly polished examples of my (mostly nonfiction) creative writing and are not bound either to strict fact or to my personal view of the world. They are small pieces of art and should be read as such, in preference to reading them as transcripts of my life or little confessions of guilt or shame.
For the next few weeks, I’m going to post episodes that track a relationship through the gifts one lover gives to another. I think it will be a fun experiment in style and emotion, and I hope you enjoy the results! 🙂 Wednesdays are still reserved for guest authors, which I am openly seeking. Amos Parker will present a piece this week; I’ve seen the first draft and am excited about releasing it to you!
Thanks for reading. 🙂
“I can’t tell you how much it was,” she typed. The message appeared on my screen, void of her joking lilt, but I could almost hear it through the pixels.
“C’mon,” I replied. “You have to give me a hint.”
“Alright,” she said. I waited with a tense smile on my face for the next message.
It appeared: “I won’t tell you how much it cost.”
My eyes closed in mirth, and I looked away from the computer while I laughed.
“Come on!” I typed. “Give me a hint!”
Sarah walked away from her computer and grabbed the box. She picked it up, turned it over in her hands. The stark dorm room around her, decorated with martini glass plastic hangers that I had helped her put up, a purple shag carpet, and several groups of stuffed penguins, felt homey to her, but the florescent light and off-white cinderblock walls also pushed her to leave, to come to my apartment.
The message Sarah is typing appeared at the bottom of the text box, and I knew that she was about to send me something good, some hint she would’ve guessed I couldn’t sink my teeth into, but she didn’t know me that well just yet.
“It weighs 4.69 pounds. That’s all you’re getting. I’m coming over now.” The message Sarah has signed off followed her messages.
I quickly shifted over to Google and typed in the weight. After converting it to kilograms for me, Google began to display items that matched. I scanned one page, but none of the links made sense. I scanned the next, and the next, excitement leaning into frustration, but always a giddy smile lighted my features.
Then, on the fourth page, I saw a waffle press that split the waffle into six hearts. I knew that had to be the present she had gotten me; it made perfect sense. We had gone to Alexander’s dining hall so many times late at night. All I had really wanted there at two in the morning was a good waffle, but their presses suck, either burning the waffle or ripping an undercooked one in half; the heat fluctuated, and the waffle mixture wasn’t any good, besides. My smile widened.
She knocked, and I left my bedroom and opened the front door. She stood silhouetted by beige vinyl beams. Sarah wore a black jacket over a purple spaghetti-strap and a knee-length black cotton skirt. Her long brown hair hung far past her shoulders, and her lips held a small smile.
She entered, plopped down on the loveseat by the entrance to the kitchen. “I’m not going to tell you what I got you,” she said, and I heard the humored lilt in person.
“I know what the present is,” I said, closing the door.
She answered, “I doubt it.”
“No, I know, but I’m not gonna tell you what it is so you can be surprised when I’m not surprised.”
“That’s stupid,” Sarah said, rolling her eyes. She leaned her torso against the near arm of the loveseat while I plopped down on the sofa.
“So what did I get you?” she asked.
“I’m not gonna tell.”
“If you knew you’d say something,” she said.
“I do admit it’s the perfect present,” I answered.
Sarah squinted her eyes, questioning my answer. Finally, she said, her voice rising in anger, “You do know, you asshole!”
I looked to the side, towards the TV.
“How did you figure it out?” she nearly screamed.
I shrugged, meeting her eyes again. “I put the weight into Google and searched a few pages. The present was so good, it wasn’t really that hard to figure out.”
Sarah looked away from me, grunting a sigh. She got up, I thought maybe to come over and slap at me, so I smiled. She didn’t move towards me, though; she went for the door.
“Wait,” I coughed, shocked. “You’re not leaving?”
“Yes, I’m leaving,” she said. “You’re such an asshole.”
She opened and shut the door, and didn’t speak to me again for weeks. She did, eventually, give me the waffle press.