I have a million-zillion things going on that I would like to share, but my brain is too paralyzed trying to remember all the things it has to remember for me to write any of them down.
So instead I will share with you a story, to be discovered via a letter I wrote, which was given to my fiance on Jan 12, his birthday.
January 12, 2011
Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, a very long time ago, my sister and I were shopping with a friend of ours. We were in a store, and she found a nice-looking sweater. “Look at this,” she said.
I looked at it, and said, “I bet our friend would like that. But I can’t buy it, since he’s here with us.”
“Sure you can,” she said. “Just tell him it’s for somebody else.”
“Not a bad idea. But won’t he be suspicious if I don’t give it to them?”
“No, he’ll forget all about it. He’s a guy after all. They don’t care about clothes.”
“Good point. Who should I tell him it’s for?”
“Tell him it’s for Carl.”
“Actually, this is a very nice sweater. I should get one for Carl too.”
“Tell him it’s for Dad then. That will make it even less suspicious, if you’re buying a few. He might not even notice that you have more than one.”
I agreed, “Good idea. Surely by the time Christmas comes he’ll have forgotten.”
So I bought the sweater, confident that the incident would fade from my friend’s mind. It was just an isolated shopping trip, long before Christmas. It was just one sweater in a pile of other gifts that accumulated in the gift room, tucked in the back behind everything else.
But here’s the strange thing. He never forgot. Not even a little bit.
In fact, not only did he not forget, but he kept mentioning it to me. “So you have presents for your dad and your brother,” he would say to me. “Don’t forget that present for your dad,” he would say later.
I thought about hiding the bag in my closet, but it was no use. Even without seeing it, he would mention it. “So what other presents do you have to buy still? You’ve got that sweater for your dad….”
I tried to blow it off. I tried to distract him with other things. “I don’t think I like those sweaters,” I told him. “I think shipping them would be a pain. I will just order gifts from Amazon instead, and return the sweaters.” I told him all about the bicycling books I’d bought for my dad instead.
This seemed like a good idea until I couldn’t find a better present on Amazon for Carl. I decided I had to ship one of the sweaters after all. I cleverly wrapped it up while he was upstairs, so he wouldn’t see it, and it wouldn’t remind him of the other sweater. When he came downstairs to help wrap, the sweater was all wrapped up. “Where’s the bag the sweater was in?” he asked.
“Oh, it’s over there somewhere,” I said vaguely. “Don’t worry about it.”
It was hidden behind some other things. “Let me look,” he said, and he picked up the bag and started digging through it to see if there were any coupons.
“Just don’t worry about it,” I said through gritted teeth.
“Aren’t you going to give the other sweater to your dad?”
“I think I’ll return it. I’d rather give him the books.” I pretended to be uninterested, but inside my head I was wailing, “Just shut up about the darn sweater!!!”
Finally Christmas came to an end. Clearly I couldn’t give him the sweater for Christmas, because it was far too fresh in his memory. However before I could sneak it out of the gift room and hide it somewhere for a future gift-giving day, he decided to clean the gift room.
“You still have to figure out what to do with that sweater,” he told me that evening. “It’s still sitting downstairs in that bag.”
“I know,” I said. “I’ll take care of it.”
Later he reminded me, “Don’t forget to return the sweater!”
“Thanks,” I said. “Don’t worry, I will.” But inside my head I was wailing, “Oh my gosh, how could you still be going on and on about that sweater you were supposed to have forgotten about two months ago?!?!”
* * *
So here’s the thing Mikey. The sweater is for you. It was always for you. You weren’t supposed to have noticed it, you weren’t supposed to remember it for so long, and you definitely weren’t supposed to have fixated on it as obsessively as you did!
If you don’t believe me, you can ask Lynn. She was there, helping to concoct the whole sordid plan. Or you can ask Jen, to whom I have been lamenting about the situation for weeks now. (She asks me every workout, “Did you give him the sweater yet?”)
I didn’t wrap it, because I didn’t want you to see the sweater-shaped box. However it is downstairs waiting for you. Happy Birthday! I hope you like it, and I hope you enjoy it. If you don’t, that’s okay… I can always return it. I still have the receipt.