Life · Memories

The Best Gift

I was having lunch with my college roommate, and she reached into her bag as we prepared to split the check. She pulled out a wallet and unzipped it, and I demanded to see it at once. It was buttery brown leather, with a zipper on three sides, and room for everything. Longer than usual and wide enough to hold a passport. There were marks on the leather from handling, and it looked well-loved. Where, I wanted to know, had she gotten it?

I deflated immediately. Annie and I had both driven a fair way to meet in the middle, and I wasn’t likely to trek back near her house for a wallet, no matter that it was born at the crossroads of beauty and function. I put it out of my head.

Until my birthday, when I unwrapped an identical wallet in soft, rich red. I may have shrieked when I opened it, just a little.

Friends, I love this wallet. It feels good in my hand. It holds all the things. There’s a pen loop that actually works and isn’t too tight. I try not to fall too hard in love with things, but this was a passion written in the stars before time began.

And then the zipper broke.

In my devastation, before I could even think of using a rubber band and making the best of it, I texted Annie. My wallet broke, I said. My lovely wallet that I love so much and I know I’ve had it for yeeeeeeaaaaaars and nothing lasts forever but I am so sad.

Calm down, she said. It’s fine. I bought two. I have the other one for you.

I couldn’t believe it.

Yes, she said. I know what you’re like. No one I know would use that for years and years and years and then want the exact same thing again. Except you. So I bought two.

We met for lunch again soon after and I got my new, blissfully familiar wallet. It was a great day.

I love this wallet. Someday the zipper will break again, and I’m pretty sure Annie doesn’t have a third one stashed away. And I’ll be fine. As presents go, the first wallet was great, and the second wallet was exponentially more amazing.

But to be profoundly known? What a gift that is.

2 thoughts on “The Best Gift

  1. My soon to be ex got me a pretty much drop dead perfect birthday gift this year. You’ll think of Hoodoo McFiggin, though. It was hymns, a brand-new book of them, by David Bjorlin, with a buncha nice tunes. I began singing them right away. Unlike the shirt collars (in the Leacock Christmas story), you can’t take them all out and swear at them all at once, you have to get to each one in its own time. But I am ENJOYING those hymns.

    A really good gift is a treasure. And being able to receive it and know someone cares for you? That’s extra great.

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