Fiction — “Birthday Present”

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Anne was all wound up one day when Debbie, her best friend, had brought her a birthday present she didn’t like. It was a nice, gold bracelet, but Anne didn’t wear bracelets. She couldn’t imagine what Debbie was thinking when she bought her this gift. Anne paced not knowing what to do with it and while she wore a hole in the kitchen floor, she wondered if she should give it back to her. She was upset, but she didn’t know if maybe she was angry too. Maybe, she thought, I am angry. What did I ever do to her to give me such an inconsiderate gift? She felt hurt, really, not angry. She was hurt that Debbie didn’t give much thought to the gift that she had bought her.

Anne thought eating lunch first would be a good idea before deciding what to do. A full stomach would be better than an empty one. She pondered the pitfalls of being hungry like spending twice as much money at the grocery store, keeping you awake at nights with a growling stomach, and making you not do or say the right thing because you’re too hungry to think. She further demised that eating lunch first would give her some time to mull over the problem of whether to return the bracelet or not.

Lunch had restored Anne’s calm. She decided it would be best to return it. She had the option to donate the bracelet or give it to someone else who liked bracelets, but Anne thought the right thing to do was to send it back. She believed it was worth the risk hoping Debbie would understand and not be angry for the action she stood firm on taking.

When the time came to address the bracelet, Anne was a bundle of nerves. Her confidence flew out the window when Debbie asked her how she liked the birthday present she had given her earlier in the day and apologized for her hasty departure. Anne hadn’t opened the present at the time it was given because Debbie had an appointment and just dropped off the gift. Anne tensed. Explaining how she felt wasn’t easy and the words weren’t coming out fast enough. “Well, Debbie, I wasn’t very happy that you bought me a bracelet. I thought you knew or noticed that I never wear bracelets. To tell you the truth, I was disappointed, and I would like to give it back to you.”

Debbie had a surprised look on her face, and then she smiled. “Oh, my goodness, I gave you the wrong present! You know how nervous I am, especially when I’m in a hurry. I was in such a dither to get to my appointment today, I didn’t notice I grabbed the wrong package. The bracelet was for my sister. Debbie reached into a shopping bag she had with her, “This is your present from me.” It was much larger than a bracelet box. Anne, filled with excitement, tore the colorful wrapping from the package. Inside lay folded a beautiful, red sweater. Red was one of Anne’s favorite colors. She was so happy, she cried, and thanked Debbie for her thoughtfulness.

Debbie said, “Did you think I wouldn’t know what you liked?”

Anne said, “Nah, I figured you made a mistake,” and rolled her eyes to the ceiling, and they laughed until their sides ached. Then both said “sorry”, and hugged. Their friendship grew that day and the moment was forever cherished by Anne and Debbie each year they grew older. It became a birthday to always remember.

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