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It wasn't until I looked at the present that I realised what it really was.
Before me, the shredded wrapping, the card thrown aside, they all fell from view beside the box itself. The brown cardboard seemed far to ordinary to stun me into silence, but it was the paper haphazardly taped to the top that left my jaw agape.
His handwriting was the same chicken-scratch I remembered. Who'd have thought such a collected person would still have the penmanship of a 7 year old at 25. Just glancing at the first sentence brought tears to my eyes.
If this has gotten to you in time, then merry Christmas. If not, happy random day of the week.That brought a laugh to my lips; he was always one to make the most mundane of days a joy.
I have been compiling this box since the 1st of January this year. In it, there is every item that brings to mind a milestone of ours this year. Whether it's the bracelet you broke on that ice skating date (I can still feel the bruises) or the birthday card that your pen exploded over (I swear, it's still wet from the sheer amount of ink that ended up on it), it's in this box.
I wish I could be there to see you open this box, truly I do. I'll be home soon, rosebud, but for now, enjoy the last year in our lives as it stands in this box.
I love you, Caleb.Careful not to rip the beautiful note, I pried the cardboard lid open. Inside sat the mentioned bracelet, card, as well as several other mementos from the last year. The tickets from the film we'd seen on our anniversary sat tucked into the book I'd started crying over a couple of weeks later. Each item reminded me of something I'd experienced with him, just as he'd promised.
Getting towards the bottom of the box, the components were less frequently from shared experiences, more frequently becoming articles that reminded him of me; an old notebook that looked heavily leafed through, a copy of my favourite book with pages marked, a set of photos taken from a booth in our late teens.
Sat in the very bottom of the box, was a velveteen container. With a hiccup, shaking fingers cracked it open, revealing a golden ring with a diamond set into the shining casing. Tears couldn't help but drip from my eyes as I cradled the box in my hands, heart self-destructing in my ribs at the thought of him choosing this exact ring, of him, in his perfectionist tendencies, spending precious time picking the perfect ring to slide onto her finger.
Movement behind me brought my eyes away from the ring. "Why are you crying, rosebud?" his smile alone sent me leaping into his arms, tears drenching his shoulder in seconds. "I'm guessing you liked my present then, eh, Melrose?"
Within seconds, tear-stained cheeks met the stubble of his in a kiss that was two months overdue. "I'll take that as a yes," he whispered, pressing himself against me in a hug that I never wanted to be released from, the engagement ring still clutched in my fingers.
"Merry Christmas, rosebud."
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Some Christmas fluff to kick you into the spirit! Merry Christmas, happy Hannukah, enjoy Qwanza, whatever you celebrate, I hope it's a god season for you.
Merry Christmas, love Eve <3