My birthday present from Rob arrived just today. It came from Arkansas, which is fitting, by way of Florida, which is just odd. He’s been obsessively keeping tabs on it via the tracking number for over a week, quizzing me daily on the contents of the mail.
“The package you’ve been waiting for showed up today,” I told him when I called his office after lunch.
“It’s your package,” he said.
“Should I open it now or wait for you?”
“Can you wait?” he asked, which was silly because of course I can, but I know he can’t.
“Okay,” I reply.
“Oh go ahead and open it,” he said, “and check to make sure that it hasn’t been tampered with. Remember what happened to Unbearable.”
Our virtual friend, Unbearable, lost a rare book in a tragic postal heist.
“I paid to have it gift wrapped too,” he added.
It was. Both in the package and gift-wrapped. And I pried the gift box open. It was quite tiny and I couldn’t begin to imagine what I needed – or wanted – that would be housed in such a shiny red box.
Inside was an even tinier satchel of red and when I tipped it upside down, a silver chain and pendant dropped into my hand.
When he asked me weeks ago what I wanted for my birthday, I initially couldn’t think of a thing. I have everything I need and nearly anything it occurs to me to want. It’s a rare and privileged person who can say this, so I don’t do so lightly, but as far as the material goes – I am blessed, if there is such a thing. But when pressed, I did come up with a small list which included: an om sign for my yoga room door and a Buddha for the corner.
“They are incredibly hard to find,” he told me days later, “but I think the alternatives will suit you.”
Dee gave me a set of figurines made in Haiti that they discovered at The Ten Thousand Villages website. Each figure is performing an asana.
And from some vendor in Arkansas, a very special place in our personal lore, he found the pendant and chain.
If either of us believed in coincidence, we’d note the timing of his gift. The anniversary of him sending me a private message back on Ye Olde Widda Board was this last weekend. Neither of us believe in coincidence. Just timing, which has always been quite convenient where we are concerned.
Five years. While mostly it feels as though I have known Rob forever, and he me, the truth is that it’s just five years, which isn’t even forever in dog years. It only brings one to the brink of middle-age.
“It’s beautiful, ” I told him. “Thank you, Baby.”
“Well,” he replied, “It’s been five years and I thought you were due another piece of jewelry.”
The first piece of jewelry Rob gave me was a gold double heart pendant with a small diamond in the crook of the uppermost heart. The occasion was our very first face to face meeting in Idaho Falls, the anniversary of which is a mere two months away. We’d been “dating” virtually, at his suggestions, for just a month when we met up. With only the rarest of exceptions, I have worn that necklace every day since.
His second gift of bling was my engagement ring barely a month later, which was joined by the wedding band three months after that. To say we moved quickly is overstating because I know couples who’ve moved at twice our speed, but I won’t be surprised if you clucked your tongue back then or if you marvel now. Both responses are within the realm of appropriate.
I am not a jewelry person though I have tried to acquire the habit on and off out of a sense that it is something women do, but aside from wedding rings, the occasional necklace and the odd navel piercing – it’s never took. Rob thinks I should just wear one of the other necklace or else,
“You will look like an old white lady rapper wanna-be,” he said.
I am loathe to give up my hearts but the om is quite becoming and I have already worn out one clasp on the heart necklace, so perhaps it deserves a break.
And I am a bit surprised to be surprised by a gift. Often, when pressed, I end up shopping for myself and letting Rob and Dee choose from my selections, wrap it and present it to me gift fashion. It’s not as unromantic or thoughtless as it sounds. I always get what I need this way and I learned it from my Dad, who used to assign each of us gifts to buy him at Christmas time. Inevitably he would call me the week before Christmas and say something like,
“I need a new pair of jeans. Waist 34 and inseam 30. Don’t spend too much. Go to Target or J.C. Penney’s. Make sure the pockets are plain. I don’t want any of that damn fancy stitching.” I could hear his eyes roll across the miles as he uttered the last sentence. He had a low opinion of men who had fancy stitching on their jeans … or wore them prison bitch style.
He was, perhaps, a bit more Virgo than most Virgo’s I know, but he also never had to return things the day after the holiday either.
Surprise isn’t necessary to enhance a gift’s awesome factor when it is from my husband or children, but it is sweet and wonderful and it is another reminder of how, truly, I have everything.