the pre-birthday day

Linda is the hardest person in the world to shop for, mostly because she’s the easiest person to please. Sounds stupid, right? It may be if you didn’t understand that gift giving in my family is a sacred thing. You don’t just pick something out and hope for the best. You are expected to pick out the perfect gift, the thing the person receiving it most wanted or most needed, in the right color, the right size and/or the right scent. It requires that you know the intended very well, have a good imagination and a great attention to detail.

{{Sigh.}} I am sadly lacking in the attention-to-detail portion of my personality, so I usually delegate these things to Arianna and just pitch in money. It’s a partnership that has worked well up until now. This year, however, Arianna is mad at Linda and has made no provisions for her birthday. This year, it’s up to me.

Linda turns 28 tomorrow – she’s two years younger than I am with a heart and a soul that are infinitely older. That’s the other thing that makes this year so hard, she’s been so unhappy that I really want to make her smile… and she hasn’t been smiling a lot lately. Actually, she’s done little else lately but frown and scream, though mostly not in that order. She’s living under a black cloud that doesn’t seem to want to dissipate. And nothing I do or say makes any difference. I want, for just one moment on one day, to make her smile, to make her happy. And I want it to be real, something nice, something right and not just Linda being Linda and easy to please.

I want to get her her favorite perfume, whatever that is – knowing Linda she ran out months ago and hasn’t gotten around to buying more, she’s so like me in that way. Or maybe I should buy her a distinctive pair of earrings, something that she can wear everywhere. Perhaps a day at a spa, getting pampered… no, she’d expect me to go with her and I can’t afford the time right now.

I know exactly what I don’t want to get her. I don’t want to get her anything that screams “Mommy” – nothing that evokes the words carryall, practical… Oh, well, I’ll figure something out.