A gift from you
Would be the best gift I could receive.
A gift from you
Would contain a smile, a laugh,
A wide-eyed surprise.
A gift from you
Would contain such emotion
That I would treasure it forever
And never let it go.
A gift from you,
Of you, to me.
We had got the work done. Eventually. The others were no help whatsoever, but I was secretly pleased by that as it meant more time to talk to him. We didn’t talk much – a couple of sentences here or there – but to me it was a start. More than a start, actually. It was progress.
It was the day after, and I was back within the normal college routine, away from him and back to my lessons. Festive decorations were starting to appear around the corridors, and people were generally in the mood for celebrating. Christmas was not for another two weeks, but getting into the spirit of things livened up the usually mellow atmosphere. I was personally not one for celebrating until the actual day; many others were however, and so I felt obliged to join in.
He was sitting in the common room when I came in, on the floor of one of the corners, earphones clearly visible from underneath his shirt. I felt a short moment of pride as I realised that I had an idea of what he was listening to – not from a guess, but because he had actually told me himself.
Even after yesterday, he hadn’t said anything to me today. He was clearly fixated on his music, and I felt it would be unwise to disturb him, so left him to it and tried to focus on something else, something more useful. I was tempted to tell my friends about my feelings for him, but could still not gather the courage to bring it up. If they had asked, maybe I would have answered. But they hadn’t, and so until then my lips would remain sealed.
I was late from my lesson before lunch and so when I got back to the common room everybody was already talking about something I’d obviously missed. I sat down next to some of my friends, trying to work out what it was that had got the whole year so worked up.
“I don’t know what I want...”
“What do you think I should write?”
“I hope I get her, because at least I would know what to get...”
Confused, I decided to ask instead of trying to find out in my mind what it was.
“What’s going on?”
“Secret Santa! Where you not here?”
“No, I was late. “ I sat back, firstly disappointed at such a trivial excuse for excitement. Secret Santa, with the idea of buying someone a present without them knowing that it was you, was not so enthralling by my standards. But then, a sudden thought hit me, a possible way of extending my current progress further. If, if by some way I ended up with him as the person I would be buying for...I could buy him something amazing, impressive and possibly suggestive to capture his attention. And then later when he found out it was me...I might just have pulled the right strings to make everything start to happen properly. He would have something to be grateful to me for, and I would have possibly made his day with my present. And he would have to talk to me, to tell me how much he liked it. In my head, the plan seemed foolproof. I hadn’t even begun to consider the problem of not being able to choose who we bought for.
At the end of lunch, the hats were drawn out. We each wrote our names on a piece of paper, with possible suggestions for what we might want to receive around it. The hats were split up into four; one for each of the original forms we were part of during upper and lower school, before we branched out into one big year group. When it was my turn, I put my folded piece of paper in the hat, complete with suggestions for books and types of accessories I might want to acquire. I pulled a different piece out, hoping to god it would be his. It was folded multiple times; as I unfolded the perfect creases I saw the name in front of me. It most certainly was not his. Instead, it belonged to a girl who I had not spoken to properly since at least Year 9. Disappointed again, I stuffed the piece of paper in my pocket and sat down, arms crossed. That was another chance gone, as quickly as it had come about. At least I wouldn’t have a problem getting a present though.
Why not? Why does it never happen? Why can things not just go right? They may have started right, but a middle and an end would be convenient as well. How am I supposed to get anywhere if it won’t go as planned? I could always give up. But after this amount of time spent wondering and wanting, it would be a waste. I can’t just throw something away like that, could I? Though I don’t even know if it will ever be worth the effort. I might never get to where I want to. I might never get him. All I want is one thing. That is it. But still, it doesn’t work. I will keep trying though. I must reach my goal, no matter what.
The deadline for the presents was getting closer. I had mine bought already; a matching necklace and bracelet decorated with tiny silver stars, and a selection of bath-related items. I was still disappointed about the lack of connection between me and him during this ‘exciting’ event, and so was hardly bothered about giving the present, or what I would receive in return. My present lay on the side of my desk, and I looked at it for a moment, thinking about how it could be something different, something more personal, something he would want. For him. But it wasn’t, it was instead a present for someone I hardly knew, let alone particularly liked. Money could have been so better spent.
Soon I will get my present. He will get his. I wonder what his person got for him? Probably something way better than what I could have possibly got him. Maybe someone else who likes him as well has got him a present so great, that all his attention turns to her instead. All my progress will have gone. Or maybe it won’t happen. Maybe he will receive a present from his friend, or an insignificant person he doesn’t speak to, that won’t make any impact whatsoever. Though, if I’m truly honest, I’m pretty much insignificant to him. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.
It was the day, the day of what everyone had been so excited about. Present day. All of the presents had been placed carefully underneath a small Christmas tree in the corner of the common room. My present I had bought was there; as was the one I was about to receive. It was square and fairly flat, wrapped in not Christmas wrapping paper, but brown parcel paper, possibly the most dull wrapping a present could receive. I was hardly intrigued as to what it was; I just wanted the whole charade to be over so I could return to the normal state of the year, and the planning I needed to sort out in order to improve upon the little progress that I had achieved.
When the presents were getting handed out, I looked over at him, trying to see what his present might be. It was an odd shape, irregular and hardly conventional, and it made me feel almost jealous that he had got such an interestingly-shaped present from someone that could have been me, had luck truly been on my side. My present was given to me, by a boy I’d barely even noticed up until now, and so I looked down at it, wondering whether opening it was really going to be worth it. If the wrapping paper was anything to go by, I had probably been bought a selection of stamps. Maybe even a stamp collection book if I was lucky. On the front my name had been scrawled across it. The handwriting was surprisingly neat, considering the dress of the present. I pulled the first bit of paper off, and then the next. The first thing I saw was the side of what I presumed was a CD case. I removed it from the wrapping paper, and turned it over in my hands. It said on the front, ‘Secret Santa CD!’. The title had been drawn on the front in black biro, in an almost artistic font. The spot where the point should have been on the exclamation mark had been replaced by a tiny heart. I checked it over, confused. Opening the case, I looked inside for an insert, or at least something that displayed the contents of the CD. All I could see was on the inside of the case, in small handwriting, the word ‘Enjoy’, followed by a smiley face.
I was intrigued. I flipped the case over again, in case I had missed something. The blankness was still there, staring back at me with no intent of answering my confusion. I looked up in despair. He was standing over me, looking almost as intrigued as I was.
“Did someone get a CD for you? What’s on it?”
“I don’t know, it doesn’t say...”
“You should work out who got it for you. Who do you think did?”
“Well...I honestly don’t know. Someone who knows what music I like, hopefully.”
He laughed. He actually laughed at something I said, and for that, I felt a sense of happiness cloud over my confusion. I smiled back at him, feeling slightly more comfortable around him all of a sudden, but still like I could lose my power of speech at any time. Just being in his presence made me feel like that.
He spoke to me once more. “You should work out who got it for you, it looks like a good present.”
And then he walked off, leaving me with my own little mystery to work out, and a new feeling of joy and festivity that hadn’t been there before.