December 22nd

I am buzzing as I let her in. “What is it? What is it?”

“Hmphmm.”

The gift is still in her mouth. She spits it on the floor, coughs, and says, “Be patient.”

“I’ve been patient all day.”

“Yeah yeah.”

We settle in. She sits by the fire while I stand at the opposite side of the room. The package rests between us. I wait until she warms.

“Ok,” she says.

I tear the gift open in a hurry, shredding paper the way my dog does when he knows there’s a bone inside.

It’s a plush mouse.

“To remember me by!”

“Very funny,” but I can’t help but smile.

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