“Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting gold.”
A woman caresses me and who could blame her? I’m gorgeous and valuable. Even Nordstrom acknowledges this by placing me at the front of a display in the center aisle. My cloud-soft, white fibers are irresistible, thanks to the rabbit who was plucked raw, kept in a tiny cage until it was no longer useful, then suffered and died for me in China. The memory haunts me but I live in the moment and the white sequin polar bear wearing a red sequin scarf on my front cheers me. Glitz attracts money. I’m confident I’ll be someone’s holiday surprise.
The words the shopper speaks to her companion confirm my allure, “Oh Sally, my niece Julie will love this! She’ll appreciate the high-end cachet of this label too. I’m going to get it for her.”
I’m gently lifted with two hands and borne to a salesperson who snuggles me into a tissue paper-filled gift box. My fluffy heart swells with pride when I hear ka-ching. It tells me I’ll soon be loved and worn by an elegant girl.
Well, it was later rather than sooner because my presentation didn’t occur for another week. No matter; I luxuriated in my own silky texture.
I knew gift day was imminent when I was transported in a moving vehicle. The ride was frigid but the destination was warm and filled with the aromas of spices and roasting poultry.
The scent of balsam engulfed me as I was set down under a tree and there I waited while a collection of humans ate a meal. I enjoyed my newfound warmth as I listened to the clink of cutlery and companionable chatter coming from a room nearby.
When it’s gift exchange time, I listen as others are presented and I rate people’s reactions to them. An iPad thrills someone. It isn’t as pretty as me but I give it 9 points for usefulness. Socks and flannel pajamas each get a tepid “thank you”— useful but boring, so 6 points. A gift of jewelry elicits a kiss and an, “Oh darling, it’s beautiful!” Definitely expensive is my guess—hard to compete, so 10 points, but love (or guilt) have an unfair advantage.
Showtime! I’m lifted up and handed to the girl. As she undoes the ribbons and giftwrap, I anticipate my first look at her delighted face. When the tissue paper parts, my loft rises and I get a floaty feeling until I face a pretty young woman with her mouth stretched into a smile and eyes that don’t match. However, she holds me up and whispers, “Thank you, Aunt Sally. It’s so light and sparkly,” and my doubts are eased.
“A holiday sweater is perfect for right now, Julie. Put it on and model it for us. Plus, I’d like to know it fits.”
I see that look in Julie’s eyes once more. She doesn’t want me. What’s the matter with her?
“I’ll be right back.” Julie carries me to her room, slips off the top she’s wearing, holds me up and talks to me, “You, my cuddly angora gift, are trashy looking. However, I’m not going to hurt Aunt Sally’s feelings so, here goes.” Julie grits her teeth, slips me over her head, slides her arms into my sleeves and regards my reflection in the mirror. Whispering, “You make me look hideous,” she touches up her slightly mussed hair and heads back to the main room.
At this point, I want to scream, “Hideous? Just wait and you’ll see what hideous really looks like!” She couldn’t hear me anyway so I can only seethe.
When Julie rejoins the group, I’m vindicated. Choruses of, “You look lovely! Just beautiful!” and “You’ve outdone yourself, Sally!” fill the room. At least most of the group recognizes elegance.
My girl is quiet and takes a seat. Someone serves hot buttered rum and another sings a song everyone knows. Julie joins in but I go to work and soon heat is rising from her body. After several more songs, she excuses herself saying she’s tired. After a round of cheek kisses, we return to her room and I’m removed with just a bit too much force. I fear damage to my sequins.
From my position on the floor where I was tossed, I glimpse her reflection in a large mirror. Everywhere my fibers touched is red and bumpy and I’m pleased I remembered how to cause an allergic reaction.
The triumph of revenge is short-lived when several days later, Julie humiliates me. She donates me to Goodwill and the price tag they put on me completely underestimates my worth. Plus, they have the nerve to put me on a hanger and gravity puts stress on my fibers. I can feel parts sagging and stretching and it makes me depressed.
I soon hear scraping as hangers are slid along the rack. The space at my front opens up and I hear, “Oh my God, this is gorgeous!”
This girl with impeccable taste lifts me up and holds me in front of her body. Her friend gushes, “Love it! It’s perfect for New Year’s Eve and it’ll look great on you, Darcy.”
Darcy hugs me on the way to the checkout and says, “I can’t believe the price. It’s such a bargain.”
You have no idea, Dahling.
She strokes me and tells her friend, “I skimped on lunch all week to save these five dollars but it’s totally worth it for this. I’ve never dreamed I could afford anything so beautiful.”
I feel an odd sensation—emotional connection. Maybe it’s karma. Darcy suffered to buy me so I’ll be nice to her. Take me home, girl!