I don’t know about you, but each year I find myself searching for the fictitious ‘perfect gift.’ In the spirit of this hopeless pursuit I’m going to share a small story featuring myself as the main character and a special appearance of my son. I hope you enjoy this fictitious short story.
The Intangible Gift
Ashlyn let out a sigh as she studied yet another store shelf. She already had several wrapped boxes and the small items for her son’s stocking, but she hadn’t found that illusive ‘perfect gift.’
“Maybe it doesn’t exist.” Ashlyn muttered as she moved to the next collection of merchandise. It was silly searching for more when she had plenty. Even though she knew this, she still couldn’t let go of the possibility that this store would have what all the others hadn’t. She had searched all the chain stores before checking out the local boutiques and consignment shops along her travels up and down the Shore.
She was now in a small shop that had a variety of items that could only be described as eclectic. There didn’t appear to be a theme to the store. Two walls were covered in shelves that housed locally made jams and rubs alongside an odd assortment of books and games that no doubt had pieces missing. Tables were scattered around with different crafted items on them. A miniature tree had multiple homemade ornaments that ranged from cute to tacky.
The books held the most promise, so Ashlyn abandoned her polite perusal of beaded jewelry and crochet hats. The shelf had no obvious method of organization. Children books sat nestled between textbooks whose neighbors appeared to be both fiction and nonfiction.
Ashlyn fought not to let her eyes wander distractedly across the titles. She had looked at so many things already she had little expectation of finding anything worth buying. On her third sweep, she noticed a burgundy spine with faded gold letters. Pulling it out, she smiled at the cover photo before flipping through the pages. It was a collection of classic Christmas stories with illustrations. She took the book to the front counter and purchased it.
When she got home, Ashlyn contemplated hiding the book so she could wrap it but decided to just give it to her son. Bryson enjoyed reading and it would be strange giving him a book of Christmas stories on Christmas.
Bryson was already in bed when she entered his room to kiss him goodnight. His face lit up with excitement when he spotted the book. “Mommy, can we read it tonight?”
She almost told him that it was late but instead she settled beside him and opened it to the table of contents. “So, which story should we read?”
“Could we read two?” A hopeful expression filled his face and Ashlyn couldn’t help but smile as she flipped to the first story.
Ashlyn kept her tone casual as she replied, “You know what? How about we read the first three.”
Merry Christmas everyone, and remember, the perfect gift is something simple. It’s not bought with money, but time. It is simply the gift of love.