Friday, February 19, 2010

the gift of the magi

Before I pulled into the driveway at the farm house my phone was ringing. The boy was never a man of many words and quickly asked for a ride.

I dropped off one child and picked up another.

I know he thinks being taller than me makes him grown, but he will always be a darling child to me.

He wants to drive. He's picking out music for the ride. Asking me if I have heard of this or that all while I am trying to read his style, wondering what kind of man he will be.

I ask why he is going to the mall, "to see a movie" he says.

We are a few blocks away and it hits me.

Its Valentine's Day.

I am heading out to meet a friend and am used to being alone, but he is heading to a date.

If I could have stopped time, I would have.

We made a failed attempt at getting flowers from a gas station.

I couldn't let him walk in without something for her.

Then he admitted he had a card.

"Can I see it?" I asked.

He handed over an unsealed envelope.

I recognized it was salvaged from a set of blank artist sketches in my mother's stationary.

The picture on the front was of a boy fishing.

This is what I know was true. This kid, whom I watched grow up, had exactly twenty-six dollars to his name, he was an hour late to his first Valentine's Day date cause no one could give him a ride, he had no gift, and he was still smiling and kind without a hair standing up in worry.

I opened the card wishing I had anything to give him to make it up to this girl for having to wait for him. How could he choose a card with a boy fishing on it?

In his handwriting (think about it, can you recognize anyone's handwriting anymore? I love my nephew and still this was the first I had seen his adult handwriting) he neatly and simply said;

"I can't believe I caught you! Happy Valentines Day. Love, Pat."

I was thrilled. Laughing I kissed his cheek and pushed him from the car. When he ran inside I turned the corner then put the car in park. I tapped the tears from my eyes and drove to dinner.

I remember waiting for hours for Travis to find a ride so we could walk around the mall broke.

I was realizing how everyone told us we didn't know what love was. We were too young to get it. I thought then, and know now - they were wrong.

When we couldn't give gifts we had to actually tell each other how we felt. We couldn't afford diversions and had to spend time together.

I honestly don't know if I'll ever meet anyone as interesting as I did when I was a teenager. The love notes, the handmade gifts, the stolen sweatshirts.

I was spoiled with the right attention and now my standards are unusually high.

Never forget what you learned at sixteen.

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