Wednesday, December 13, 2006

the best christmas gift i've ever given

Two months before my first Christmas with Jesse, we went to the mall to get Jesse some dress pants. It was our first shopping trip together and I couldn’t be happier. I had always dreamed of shopping with a boyfriend and that dream had never been realized until Jesse entered my life. While at the Hecht’s at Fair Oaks, Jesse and I decided to peruse the men’s department.

Before entering the business wear area, Jesse told me, “I wanna show you something.” He led me straight to the area with all of the Nautica merchandise and to a t-stand with outerwear. On the t-stand hung a few big, bulky, bright yellow jackets. He held one up to me and said, “I have ALWAYS wanted this jacket.” Apparently, it was a regular offering from Nautica. And it was quite the versatile jacket. It was really 3 jackets in one—there was the yellow rain jacket type on the outside with a detachable grey down lining that could be worn as its own jacket. And Jesse loved it. As I was wondering internally why Jesse hadn’t already purchased the jacket on his own if he had wanted it so badly, I admired him as he tried it on. The jacket suited him perfectly. It was sporty and functional. I took a peek at the price tag while he had it on. Suddenly I knew exactly why he hadn’t bought it himself. The jacket was $350! I don’t even own an article of clothing that expensive.

I watched Jesse’s face as he returned the item to the rack. For a split second, there was this look on his face. I know that look. In fact, I’ve expressed that look many times, particularly at Tiffany’s whenever I’ve tried on a piece of jewelry that I desperately wished I owned. Jesse recovered quickly though and we headed over to the business wear area to get him work clothes.

As it got closer to Christmas, I knew exactly what to get Jesse. Sure I couldn’t afford The Jacket, considering the many other gifts I had to buy. But I wanted Jesse to be happy and I certainly couldn’t put a price tag on that. His happiness was worth more to me than $350.

Well, unfortunately, by the time I started my Christmas shopping, The Jacket was sold out in his size at all Hecht’s in Northern Virginia and at the one in DC. I tried Macy’s and Nordie’s to no avail. I tried the Nautica website and it wasn’t there. With a couple of weeks left until X-mas, I was getting desperate. After all, there was no Plan B here. It’s the Nautica jacket or bust. One day, while out shopping for accessories for the dress I was going to wear to Jesse’s company holiday party, I walked into a random store downtown. For whatever reason, I thought of Jesse’s jacket and thought maybe it was a big enough store to possibly carry men’s outerwear. I walked to that section and found one lonely bright yellow jacket surrounded by a sea of black wool coats. As I walked over to the jacket, I said a little prayer. Please, God, please let it be the jacket.

I grabbed the jacket off the rack. IT WAS THE NAUTICA JACKET. I looked for a size tag. OH MY GOD! It was Jesse’s size. I looked it over and checked for defects (yes, I was THAT unsure of my luck). It was perfect. I rushed over to the counter to pay for it before I woke up from my dream. I still couldn’t believe my luck as I walked out of the store with it.

I could barely sleep Christmas Eve. I was so excited about giving Jesse the jacket. I couldn’t wait to see the expression on his face. After tossing and turning all night, I woke up completely tired yet anxious. What happened next was worth every minute of lost sleep.

After Christmas brunch with his family, we all gathered around Jesse’s parents’ Christmas tree to open presents. I had to place Jesse’s jacket in a massive shipping box because it was so bulky. Jesse had the largest gift box that year. I’m sure he thought it was a jacket or some other article of clothing. But I know he didn’t think it was THE Jacket.

I watched his face anxiously while he tore open the wrapping paper. My heart raced as he gingerly opened the box. First came the shock. As I type this now, I can still remember the look on his face as he slowly pulled the jacket out of the box. Ooohs and Ahhhs from his family soon followed. Jesse just sat there, holding the jacket. His non-response worried me. Perhaps I got the wrong jacket. He was kinda quiet so I asked him, “Do you like it?” Still stunned, he replied in a soft voice, “You remembered.” I knew then that he realized that this wasn't about the jacket. This was all about giving him something that he had always wanted. His face slowly broke out into a grin and it was all I needed. Sure the month of January was going to be tight for me financially, but it was all so worth it.

Shortly before our anniversary this year, I asked Jesse what was the best present I had ever given him. Initially he replied, “Your love.” I smiled (and swooned). It wasn’t the answer I was looking for, but it was definitely a great answer! So, I clarified, “No, I mean material thing.” He thought about it for a moment and said, “They’ve all been good, but if I had to pick one, it would be The Jacket.”

As I sit here wondering what to get Jesse for Christmas this year (I thought I knew, but now I’m not so sure), I know nothing will top The Jacket.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying.

5 comments:

Alexis said...

that is such a sweet story! you and jesse are really just the cutest :)

lizzie said...

alexis--thank you for saying that! you're so sweet!

Mad Cabbie said...

Lizzie, the best Christmas gift I ever got was being robbed at gun-point two nights before Christmas about ten years ago and not being shot by the punk! I think I will write about it two days before Christmas to mark the anniversary, there is a sad and funny moment about that night.

But that was cool of you that you went an extra mile to make your man happy, he is one lucky dude to have you on his side.

Cheers!

Jesse said...

I am a lucky guy! That was such a great present! Thanks Lizze!

lizzie said...

mad--dude, i am so looking forward to that story. i'm very glad you survived that night!

boo boo--i'm the luckiest one of all because i have you.