Old Writing: Part 6::The Birthday Present

This is another of my writings from Creative Writing 101. I still have the figurine which looks slightly different from the description, but I probably was writing about it from memory. My English professor was quite kind in his words about this one too, although he had some doubts about the analogy of my anger and a volcano — I guess he didn’t know me that well.

The Birthday Present

Last Saturday I woke up so late that I heard the crunch of the mail truck on the gravel in front of our house before I had even finished breakfast. As it is a race at our house to bring the mail in, I jumped up and ran to the front door only to see Bob, my cousin, coming from the direction of the mailbox carrying several white envelopes of various sizes, a colorful postcard and a small package. Seeing the package made me forget the lost race as I yelled, “MY PRESENT!”

My birthday, a month before, had been accented by a telephone call from Jeremy, my boyfriend in England who informed me that my gift was on its way, but had to be sent sea-mail because he didn’t have the money to spend to send it by air, having just returned from America. Since I enjoy looking forward to a present, almost as much as I do getting one, I waited quite patiently — the first week at least. After that, I began to become anxious for its arrival. In one of his weekly letters, Jeremy hinted at the identity of the present. He hinted so thoroughly that I guessed what it was — a ceramic figure. Jeremy also said that he hoped it wasn’t broken. I wasn’t worried about that though — he always took the greatest care when wrapping a gift to be sent through the mail. Now the present had arrived.

The small brown package, tightly bound with the sort of tape with nylon strings in it, was addressed to me. The return address was Jeremy’s. As I struggled to open the package, dented due tot he horrendous treatment the postal system gives mail, and empty feeling began to form in my stomach. My heart began to pound as I turned the parcel upside down and small bits of white plaster fell to my lap. My blood pressure surely rose as I tried to rip off the top of the box. All this time I was saying, “Oh it’s broken; oh no, it’s broken, I know it!” — not daring to believe that it truly was, assuring myself that the plaster chips were from the bottom of the figure or the box. After much effort to break the tape, Bob offered the use of his knife which I angrily, but thankfully, accepted and proceeded to cut the bindings. From there the task was simple. I opened the inner box and unwrapped the tissue paper, exposing the figure — with two horrible chips. The anger and disappointment which had been working its way up from the pit of my stomach suddenly erupted with the violence of a volcano; awful accusations, like red-hot lava spilled from my mouth as my temper reached its peak. I re-wrapped the gift, ignoring my family’s remarks on how cute the figure was, and placed it back in the box.

Later that day, after doing the dishes and eventually cooling down, feeling guilty as a result of my dreadful scene, I removed the figure from the box and once more unwrapped it. Tears stung my eyes as I recalled how terribly I had acted. I hadn’t even thought of the love that had been sent with the gift. The figure, which I had neglected to even admire before, was of two small rabbits cuddled under a black and white polka-dot quilt. One rabbit was soundly asleep, while the other had one eye open, looking at its partner. A black cat was curled behind the knees of the sleeping bunny — just where my black cat sleeps.  The chips, less serious than I had previously thought, were on the same side, but at opposite corners. Part of the fluffy blue pillow and a whole bedpost was missing. Luckily there was plaster of various colors, shapes and sizes at the bottom of the box. Without further thought I found my Elmer’s Glue, plaster filler and watercolors and set to work to restore my birthday present.

Although the figure still isn’t “good as new” and anyone can tell it was broken, I wouldn’t trade it for a perfect one. Too much emotion — on both sides of the Atlantic — has gone into this small ceramic figure to be dumped as worthless trash.

2 thoughts on “Old Writing: Part 6::The Birthday Present

  1. Don’t know why but it seems to be snowing large, beautiful snowflakes inside my computer. Hope I don’t have to shovel it out in the morning.

    Anyway — getting back to the subject at hand — you’re not really going to throw this in the trash are you, maybe Clare would like it for something to talk to when she gets lonely. I love you — let me know what you decide.


    1. Haha, Aunt Ginny! No, I am not tossing it in the trash. I’ve kept it for this long — I will let my survivors deal with my stuff when I am gone.


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