I started buying my presents at the end of October and began to feel pretty smug. At the rate I was going, I’d be done shopping well before Christmas. Emma’s presents were bought by mid-November and I knew what I was going to buy for Jeremy. Then I stopped getting scheduled days off during the week. This was great for my pay cheque but stunk for shopping time. Jeremy loves to shop and would want to know why I was going without him.
As the weeks passed, I began to grow more worried. Eventually we got into December and I realized my next weekday off was one I’d booked months earlier. Christmas Eve. I pulled my boss aside and begged her to send me home early one day so I could finish my shopping. She looked at the schedule and told me she’d send me home early the next day. I was elated and told several of my regular customers.
True to her word, I got off after working half a shift and immediately went out to shop. By lunchtime I was done and everything was safely tucked away in my closet.
I went into work the following day and one of my regular customers greeted me with a huge grin.
“So, what did you get Jeremy for Christmas this year?” she asked eagerly. “I want to know what sixteen year old boys are into these days.”
I looked at her, feeling much like a deer gazing into headlights. She either wanted to know what I’d got Jeremy OR what sixteen year old boys are into. There wasn’t a lot of overlap. I took a deep breath.
“I got him a ceramic hair straightener and a fondue pot for Christmas this year,” I informed her.
She stared at me in disbelief. “You got him what?” she blurted. Her expression said she was positive she’d misheard.
“I got him a ceramic hair straightener and a fondue pot,” I repeated clearly.
She shook her head. “Well now,” she muttered as she walked away. Apparently she had been looking for a more generic boy’s answer and not what I’d actually bought.
As she left, I figured I could only be grateful I hadn’t managed to find the rainbow elephant stuffed animal he’d also half-jokingly requested.