What Kate Buys for Herself With Christmas Money, or, Mail, Wonderful Mail
Even though I had a busy day at work with an infuriating incident with my manager (as I’m carefully tweaking the color and light settings of an old picture for a customer, he’s breathing down my neck. “You should have that printed by now, Kate. You really need to hurry, Kate. Come on, Kate…”), I was pleasantly pleased when I got home from work.
I always check the mail when I get home. Today, I did not walk up to my apartment with bills and a letter or two. I walked up with an armful of packages and a letter, all with my name on them. I opened the package from my mom first, then remembered that she told me she’d send me a red, blinking reflector, like the one Dad wears when he bikes home in the dark. She even sent an extra battery and a bunch of candy as well. The reflector made me smile as I was just wondering, on my walk home tonight, of the closeness of the cars travelling along the road and of the effectiveness of my puffy, yellow coat.
I opened the letter next. It looked conspicuously like a wedding announcement, but the only sign as to who it was from was a nameless address in Lehi. I automatically began reviewing the cousins who live there and wondering if any of them were marrying age. The inner envelope was pleasing, circles folded together and sealed with a silver circle sticker. Squeals soon followed: a childhood friend of mine, years older, has included invites to all the festivities. The ceremony, the reception, the luncheon. We really must have a chat soon, Kaelyn. I want to know all about this boy of yours.
The next was another bubble envelope. It’s got something slender and long inside, so I know exactly what it is. However, I don’t know exactly how it’s carved or what the finish is. I am pleased by both; the knob is a ball held between cupped ends, and the wood is very light, not at all red. I love both. It fits in my bright blue utensil jug perfectly as well.
The last thing left was the best. This is a box. I tore the tag across, and inside, snuggled in peanuts and red tissue paper, is another box. There is a folded printout of my invoice and an envelope beneath. I pick up the box. It’s wrapped once with a ribbon, but instead of tied at the top, the ribbon is stuck down with a large sticker with graphics proclaiming the artist’s name. The ends of the ribbon, which is fat and creme with spots up in a row, are left to wrap how they will around the box, but the ribbon is so sensible that it goes without much flourish.
I peel half the sticker off and open the box. Inside, nestled on fine cotton and inside a small plastic bag, are my rings. They are thinner than I expected, but that is just fine. My fingers are thin as well. Under these is another plastic bag, simply labelled “polishing cloth” so I don’t have to puzzle over it.
The rings fit exactly the way I want them to. A little loose to allow for future fat fingers, but one ring is slightly smaller than the others so as to hold them on while I shake my hand vigorously. The envelope underneath the box reveals a card with a handwritten note and a tiny medallion on more ribbon with another sticker. The medallion whispers, “thank you.”
I carefully put the packaging back to keep its beauty and float to the kitchen to get a drink of fruit juice. I leave the big envelope of health plan options from work unopened.