The empty box
It was going to be her birthday in a few days and since I was driving by a local mall I decided to stop and try to find something for her. I walked up and down the mall looking for something, anything that may be the perfect birthday gift, but nothing stood out. She already had one of most everything I saw and with my taste so different from hers getting her something is not easy and I went home empty handed. I’ll drop some hints or look around and come up with something, I thought to myself.
But the hints got me nowhere and looking around for something that would make the perfect gift was fruitless. She had plenty of her favorite perfume and multiple pairs of slippers already. Heck, she had yet to wear the watch that I gave her last year for her birthday.
You’d have to know a little bit about my wife to understand. She went through a terrible marriage that only lasted a year and then raised her daughter by herself. She became tough as nails and as independent and methodical as I am. She fought to do well and to do right and she became as tough as steel. She is definitely not the romantic in our relationship, I am. I have every card or drawing that was ever given to me and she can toss them out as fast as she can read them. I’m the one that cries at weddings and funerals and when opening gifts and things like that, not her.
So after giving it a lot of thought I came to the realization that I just had to come up with the perfect gift and yet if I bought her clothes she would most probably return them, as her taste and mine are not even close. She certainly wouldn’t want another toaster, mixer or iron. Heck, she’d probably hit me over the head with one of them if I tried to take that easy way out.
The day before her birthday I had yet to decide on a gift. It had to be special enough for her to want to save it and it had to be something she wouldn’t or couldn’t return. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. If anything was going to reach her through her skin of steel this would maybe do it. So I drove to the store and walked out with exactly what I needed, a birthday card.
Back at home I poked through the closets until I found the ideal box for the occasion, a small box about 1 inch deep and 4 inches square. Then I signed the card by saying “Happy birthday honey” and I waited. I waited until she went to bed and then I attached a little post it note on top of the box that said “Open me first” and I put the card on the passenger seat of her car and the box on top of it and I went to bed.
She was a few minutes late leaving for work the next morning and she was in a hurry as she ran out the door. And about 5 minutes after she left my cell phone rang, just as I hoped that it would. I had it in my hand along with my coffee and I was waiting for this one moment. It was her and she was crying. She had noticed the box and card as she was about to pull out of our subdivision and quickly realized that it was indeed her birthday, and so she had opened the box first per my instructions. She found that the box was empty and then she opened and read the card.
Inside the card was my note: “This box signifies just what my life would be like without you. I love you very much and happy birthday.”