It was my friend’s birthday yesterday. She is from the South and as kind and generous as they come. You know, the type of person who brings you homemade chicken soup when you're sick and actually cares about the answer to the often rhetorical question “How have you been?” She listens intently when you talk to her and often jokes that I have “affection issues.” She right, I have a habit of deflecting compliments and the friendly gestures with sarcasm and suffer from what she lovingly refers to as “personal space issues.”
Anyhow, I was revising and old manuscript and trying to decide what to get her for her birthday. Sure I could get her a nice bottle of wine (which I did) or make her a five layer German Chocolate Cake (which I did) but I wanted something that I could actually wrap . . . with nice paper and ribbons and all. At a complete loss, I did the unthinkable – I let her in on my little secret. Yep, I told her that I am a writer complete with a copy of a mid-revision manuscript of mine – CEDAR.
I handed off the cake and wine, but clung to that nicely wrapped package with all my might until she literally pried it from my hands with some comment about how it was her birthday and she had a right to open her presents. She opened it, stood there holding 286 pages in her hand looking confused. I sunk down into a chair, fiercely regretting my choice of presents, and whispered, “I didn’t know what to get you for your birthday, so I wrote you a book.” Her confusion turned to wonder, then to what I could only assume was happiness when she turned to me laughing, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Get ready,” she said “because I am going to hug you now.”
I survived the hug, personal space issues and all. Apparently the fact that I had given her a book, one that I wrote, one that was filled with all the intensity of emotion that I never share, was better than the insanely expensive bottle of wine I’d given her. Hmm . . . maybe she’ll change her mind after she reads the ms. Or better yet, maybe she will drink the entire bottle of wine while she is reading it – then no matter what I have written, she will think it amazing :)