The Perfect Birthday Gift

Submitted into Contest #1 in response to: Write a story about someone trying to find the perfect birthday gift.... view prompt

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I can’t believe another year has passed and I am again at the point when I need to start thinking about my girlfriend’s birthday. Its three days away and being a procrastinator, I find myself in a quandary. What do you buy for a woman who asks for nothing, demands nothing and lives simply? What would make her happy, some jewelry, perfume, clothes or a quiet dinner for the two of us at her favorite spot?  I start to think it might be easier with a demanding girlfriend and then stop. Do other men suffer this malady of not knowing like me?   

There is a saying that blessings come disguised and when least expected. Definitely applies to me, and what’s even more amazing, right now!  I am sitting here on the overcrowded metro, phone in hand and on my way to work.  This is usually the time I prefer to relax with my eyes closed, music softly playing in my ears. Today, that’s not the case and I am feeling stressed about buying a birthday present to impress and please my girl.  Lo and behold, my blessing comes in the form of an advertisement on my cell which captures my attention and causes me to sit up and take notice.  There flashing brightly are a pair of round, silver earrings with a row of tiny bells at the bottom.  It hits me that these are the solution to my birthday gift problem. After spending some time looking at them, it occurs to me that she would absolutely love these and I should buy them. A smile spreads across my face and I take a screenshot.   Suddenly I hear my stop being announced, the train comes to a halt and the crowd starts shoving its way to the door. This rushing always irritates me and on numerous occasions has set my negative tone for the night. I grab my backpack, shove my phone in my pocket and zigzag my way out the door and to the platform. The earrings will have to wait until I reach work and have break.

The company I work for has its home office in the United States, I am in their India BPO office.  If you have never heard of BPO, it is an acronym for Business Process Outsourcing which means the US farms certain functions to India that large companies can’t find time or money for.  The pay is not the best but for India’s pay standards it is okay. Most of these jobs require excellent English skills and the ability to work the overnight or graveyard shift. Tonight when I arrive at my desk, I notice it covered with files and paper. Standing with phone in one hand, the other on my keyboard, is my supervisor. He is talking in a loud, firm voice to someone on the other end. Bewilderment sets in, as this is not a common sight to see when I come into the office. Shifting my weight from one foot to the other, I wait until he puts the phone down and I greet him. Grunting his hello, he ushers me into his office and begins to explain in the same loud voice what has just happened over the phone. The night is off to a bad start and continues this way with one issue after another. My lunch sits untouched and all I have had is one brief fifteen minute break for tea and biscuits. There’s been no time to even revisit the earrings.  Like a blur, my shift ends and I am back on the metro feeling battered and worn down tired.  Cramming my ear buds into my ears and closing my eyes, I doze off.

Morning comes quickly for those of us who work overnight, around noon.  What would be most peoples lunch becomes my breakfast.  Today my mind is still sleepy, probably residual stress from last night. Suddenly I remember the earrings. Oh my God, two days left and as I once again prepare myself for the new night I promise myself to spend time trying to locate them.    My family keeps me busy, with mom and dad needing errands run or work completed at home. The day passes and I am off to work. Arriving at the metro station, standing amidst throngs of other passengers waiting, I notice that the train that is arriving looks crammed and still is even after people have disembarked. This means there will be no seat today and no searching my phone for details on the earrings.  Work is uneventful but I am flat out my whole shift and I find myself back home and in my bed before I know it.  Time is dwindling fast so I quickly decide to enlist the help of my younger sister. Sisters are the most exasperating creatures and so unpredictable.  They’re either quite agreeable and well lovable or depending on their mood, downright difficult. I guess I can call myself lucky as I have the former, and she is terrific.

Exhaustion is my new name these days and I feel like someone is controlling me with the “crazy” buttons on a remote. What happens next is just WOW.  My sister is so connected to her phone 24/7 and I don’t doubt that she will reply to me lightning fast. With this in mind I text her the screenshot I’ve taken of the earrings, lay my head back on my pillow for what felt like two minutes and passed out.  I wake to a vibration and ringing sound from a distance. I shift my weight and discover that it’s under me, answering I hear a shrill, excited voice and because I am still feeling the effects of sleep, assume it is my sister. Skipping the hello, how are you, the voice cuts right to the purpose of the call. At the top of her voice she is screaming, “I got them, I got them and they are just what I want.”  My brain is suddenly waking and although I am confused it hits me this is not my sister. It’s my girlfriend and I’m shocked. What the hell did I do?   Half asleep I must’ve texted the earrings to her instead of my sister. I’ve really screwed up big time but after a second or two, my mind switches gears and I realize, my problem is solved!  I breathe a sigh of relief and promise myself to take the time this afternoon before work to purchase them.  I am thanking God for this mistake as in a strange way I confirmed that she would truly like them which makes the gift all the more special.  It also motivates me to move my butt and get them. 

August 08, 2019 09:07

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1 comment

Madge Cameron
23:09 Apr 27, 2021

I really enjoyed your story


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