My husband and I had been casually dating for less than a couple of months when Valentine’s Day awkwardly reared its ugly head. It was still during that getting-to-know-you stage, before the “I love yous” had been exchanged and before our normal gift giving routine had been established. Finding a gift for him wasn’t all that difficult. I knew he adored science fiction, so I ordered him a reasonably priced book signed by one of his favorite authors. I imagined I’d receive something equally as benign that would show that he affectionately appreciated my interests.
When the big “V” day arrived, we met at a little eatery near my house, the restaurant that would eventually become “our place,” to have dinner and exchange gifts. After a quick smooch hello, I placed a neatly wrapped package at his place. Instead of doing the same, he explained that my gift was too large to bring to the restaurant and that he’d give it to me back at his place. I kept my cool and smiled understandingly, but the kid in me was more than excited at the prospect of a really big present! I quizzed him incessantly throughout dinner for hints, but he wouldn’t budge.
When we finally arrived at his house, my curiosity was off the charts. Finally, there it was in front of me, a huge square box wrapped in lovely white paper with red foil hearts. I tore into it like a kid a Christmas. The paperless box revealed this cover:
I ignored it, certain that this package would be like a set of Matryoshka dolls with each package getting smaller until the last, little box I unwrapped was a book I’d been wanting to read or a dainty pair of silver earrings. However when I carefully removed the strip of tape across the top of the box, I was staring face-to-hood with this monstrosity:
Even though my head was racing with thoughts like, “Wow, he sure hasn’t been listening to my interests,” and ” Does he have any idea that no person under the age of 70 uses one of these?” I still wrapped my arms around his neck and politely thanked him. He kissed the top of my head and said, “You know, that’s not just hairdryer don’t you?” I looked at him with confusion. “It’s also a time machine.” I turned my head to the side like a puppy who’s just heard a high-pitched noise. “You’ve always said that you don’t have the free time to read as often as you’d like. I thought with this, you’d be able to read while your hair dries.”
I finally admitted to him, a few years after we were married, that my hairstyle just wouldn’t work with a dryer like that, and the thoughtfulness associated with it was the true gift he’d given me. To make closet space, I lovingly donated it to the Goodwill with the hope that it could become someone else’s time machine.
Years later, my husband still has no concept of the implements needed to create my crazy hair-do, but he does know me, and the things that make me happy.