She was the last client of the Christmas holiday rush and she handed me an enveloped gift card. I thanked her graciously for the thoughtful gesture and laid it aside with all the seasonal gifts that wonderful people had given to me, in loving thanks for work that I had done for them over the year. With such a heavy workload and my body extremely tired from all the energy that had been drained from me, I packed up my holiday loot and made my way home to turn off any signs that displayed the arrival of Christmas morning the next day.
Dealing with all the holiday work that is bestowed upon me is physically and emotionally draining. It is however an appreciated profitable and a very thankful time. The thought of a quiet peaceful evening at home with the pups and a cocktail seemed just right to ring in the holidays with silence and no chaos abounding.
I have always had such a time with the holidays of Christmas and it seemed that particular year was even harder than usual. My complaining never ended about all the hoopla surrounding its "seasonal" effectiveness. I just wanted to hide my head in the sand until the new year presented itself. My focus at that time was how to distance myself from the rainy grey days of winter and relocate where the sun would never set and warm me from the inside out. As the evening wore on and my body regenerated itself with the help of my libations, I took the time to peruse through all the gifts that I brought home with me. With the help of my dogs we managed to tear through all the paper and open all the boxes together, even finding dog treats that had been given to them for their holiday treat. I was knee deep in gift wrap paper and decided to clean it up before bed so I set my motion in action and just as I was picking up the last of the paper, the "Gift Card" dropped from the last pile that I was about to put in the trash bag. I had forgotten about that and was glad that I did not accidentally throw it away. I set it aside and picked up the last of the mess and left the envelope lying on the table and proceeded to bed.
The next day I avoided the phone and kept myself scarce. I pretended to not notice the Christmas feeling that filled the air and the lack of noise from no traffic whizzing by. It was a chilly morning and we all took a long dog walk to stave off the holiday blues. It was going to be a long three day holiday and enduring it all was to become a challenge that I had to win. We arrived back home and I quickly made some hot tea to heat the cold that surrounded my body from the brisk wind that followed us everywhere we walked. I quickly made my place on the sofa, under the warm blanket, and was ready to take my first sip when the cup slipped from my hand, hit the table and spilled, wetting everything in its path to the floor. My vocabulary exuded many four letter words as I mopped up the mess that laid before me.
I once again reheated more water for tea and took another try at getting warm. I made my way, once again, back to the sofa to snuggle under the warm blanket. I was doing pretty well until I stepped on the wet envelope in front of the sofa that held the "GIFT CARD" that was now soaking wet from the previous spillage of tea. I had missed that completely from the last clean up and picked it up and laid it out on the kitchen counter to dry, hoping the contents were not ruined since I had yet to open it.
I had been given a movie to watch and was anxious to view it as that was to be my holiday highlight for the moment. I had finally settled in for the warmth that eluded me for those last thirty minutes. As the story unfolded on the screen, within my little world, I got taken away with the story and all it's characters that seemed so real. They all lived in a place where each took great care to reach out for one another. It was both moving and seemingly surreal. After its finale I could not help myself to start it over and watch it again. The damp cold gray skies had settled in and the clouds began unleashing more of their liquid as I huddled deeper into my couch cocoon. The viewing process repeated once more as I made mental notes on the songs that were being played throughout the movie. During the rest of the day I continued to think about the story and how magical it all seemed. Love stories always held a special place inside me and this story took away the holiday blues. I was taken with both of the "male" lead roles and was particularly drawn to the role of "Dean" mostly because of his name and his honesty about who he really was. Getting up from that lounging arena I made my way to the kitchen to make myself some "Christmas dinner" and pondered the movie inside my head as I put a meal together.
As soft music played I ate and stared out the window contemplating another "warm sunny" fantasy. I had not noticed that I had set my dinner plate on top of the still wet envelope that held the "GIFT CARD". I finished eating and as I made my way to the sink to rinse the plate off The force of the water released the envelope that was stuck to the bottom and it dropped into the sink, once again getting drenched with more water. I quickly retrieved it and carefully dabbed as much of the water I could get off it and laid it out for the second time to dry. I still had not opened it thinking that I would wait till it dried so that I would not tear it apart, since it was so wet. I began to realize that it was not to be for me and that "GIFT CARD" as too many disasters had already occurred.
The next morning it was still a little damp and had started to warp a bit so I put it in a book to flatten it. I knew that when I opened it after it was dry that it would then not tear to pieces. I hoped that what remained inside would still be intact. As they say out of site is truly out of mind. Forgetting completely that inside that book laid the unopened envelope, I absent mindedly put the book back in the shelf from where it was previously stored. I had hurriedly cleaned up for pending guests that were planning to stop by. So once again the sweet present had another fate delivered upon it.
Three months later I had completely packed up my belongings and moved to another home. I still had no recollection about the hidden envelope that I had filed away. It was so amazing to realize that when I packed all those books that nothing came to the forefront to remind me of its existence. Surrounded by many moving boxes I took my time in unpacking and soon the season of spring was knocking on my door once again. On this one particular day the client that gave me the "GIFT CARD" had been scheduled on my books to visit me and as she was conversing with me she mentioned the envelope and wondered if I had used it contents yet. I looked at her quizzically and had no cognisant idea of what she was talking about but did not want to let her know that I had forgotten about what she spoke about, so I politely told her "not yet", but was planning to do that on the weekend. It would haunt me all day as to what she was talking about as I could not even think of that one thing that I had missed. The conclusive evidence would soon reappear reminding me of what she asked about that day.
Taking a most concerted effort to remove the last of the moving boxes I took that next weekend and emptied the last of the books from those boxes. I was just about done and as I was ready to fill the last top shelf with the remaining books, two of the books slipped from my hands and fell to the floor. One of the books which fell held the enveloped "GIFT CARD" which was sent swirling across the wood floor. Instantly I remembered what I had done by putting it inside that particular book to keep it together. Smiling and glad to know that I had found it, I picked it up off the floor and finally opened it. The ink from the card had blurred a bit , but was still pretty legible, and it held inside the card a "GIFT CARD" for a thirty day membership to an Internet dating service called "MATCH.COM". I have to say that I was totally underwhelmed and had a bit of trepidation thinking that it would be a department store gift card. OH WELL.....it was a kind gesture and one that I would probably never use so I put it aside on my desk and completed the last of the boxes.
Most everyday that I sat at that desk doing work, I would casually glance at that card and just give it a shrug and move on to other things. After a couple of weeks and a few cocktails I decided to take the plunge, and since my inebriated state took my guard down, I cashed it in on the Internet and proceeded to fill out my profile and all the things needed to use the card correctly. COUNTDOWN........tick-tock towards the thirty days expiration period. What had I done would remain to be seen.
The next several days were spent reading the most unusual and provocative profiles, none of which, at that time seemed similar to my tastes. Their explanations of the information contained left me feeling as if I would be another conquest in their books of dates gone by. I was getting the idea that this "Internet dating" thing was not for me. That would definitely prove itself to be true in more ways than one.
I took my time in reading many of the listings and decided on five people that I would respond to. I was beginning to get emails from people who had recently read my profile and that gave me an ego boost until I realized that they were the "Internet Vultures" just waiting for a newbie to bite into. I began noticing a pattern of repeat performances as they forgot that they had already written before and changed their responses allowing me to see their lack of honesty. Some of the responses were so suggestive that I even blushed while reading the emails.
The so called "GIFT CARD" had brought with it more that I ever expected.
Four of the five choices that I responded to proved to be entertaining, at the least. They provided the usual "dating" routine of dinner and a movie or coffee and brunch and each would wind up with so much sexual innuendo that my taste for any future dates with them was quickly evaporating. I am nor have ever thought of myself as prudish but for gosh sakes the questions asked of me even made me feel uneasy. The Internet dating had proven to be a hook-up haven for the sexually frustrated people who really have no desire for the "relationship" that the site proposed to provide for it's members.
The "GIFT CARD" did deliver four experiences which quenched my interest for cyberspace meetings. The fifth never responded and I decidedly had a happy thought that I would not have to endure another night of fifty questions about my life, anatomy and sexual preferences. UGH!!!!! With that awareness the expiration of the "CARD" finished it's thirty day trial run, but not before I was bombarded with requests for more meetings and to renew the membership with all it's "wonderful services". N O T ..... I was through with that business and finally got the message that bachelorhood was my role in life and I intended to play it out without the fifty question human.
The "GIFT CARD" was honestly used and I thanked her for giving it to me and did not offer any further details on the outcome of cashing it in. I misplaced the actual card and was not disappointed with it's disappearance but once again it was out of site and really out of my mind. As if it had a life of it's own it reappeared about seven weeks later while cleaning the office area. I found it appalling that it had not been lost and laid it once again on my desk to remind myself to throw it away later.
It was on that same Sunday that I was busying myself and decided to take a break and check for emails. Within that batch of emails was a response from the dating service that someone had written back that I wrote to earlier. Here it was seven weeks later, so I half heartily opened the email and read it's text. It was a response from the fifth and last person from that trial period. He had explained the delay in getting back to me and was letting me know of his dissatisfaction with the site and the people responses and had not checked his inbox for quite a while, but recently found my email and it sounded interesting so he took the time to write.
I glanced over at that damn "GIFT CARD" which laid within my view. It's little plastic aura was still giving off energy even though it was terminated. Thinking that I would not hear back at all I flippantly responded and left my phone number and wrote that it was a miserable experience for me also and not one that I wanted to revisit anytime soon, but if you were truly different and did not give off innuendo's, then perhaps a chance meeting would work.
As the sun rises today, the morning light shed's its ray's through the bedroom window and casts a glow on a sleeping person in bed. The "GIFT CARD" delivered it's magical essence and almost eight years later that very person is still around. The universe answered the call and delivered my request.
I was totally unprepared for it's response and had no experience in the relationship department. Being together is still a work in progress. The future is being honed by the past and now communication gets a daily update.
You know...come to think of it, I never did find any written disclosure's listed on the back of that "GIFT CARD"
It must have been inserted into the fine print on the envelope that was blurred from being wet so many times. It's clairity of the words finely printed, would become clearer over the years though and would be read as the "RELATIONSHIP DISCLOSURE".