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.