Adhesive

Written on the adhesive was her name, meaning it was her present. Wrapped in the silver paper. Topped with the bow. Her name was written in black marker on the tape and slightly smeared. It had been dashed off, impromptu, like the reckless bends and folds in the wrapping paper.

It wasn’t her birthday, it wasn’t Christmas. It was a weekday, the end of a long workday, an ordinary and unmagical time. To receive the present at sundown in the windblown and empty parking lot outside her work made her feel like she had tripped backward into someone else’s body, into a story that included such random and affectionate acts, or leastwise spontaneous charity. She tapped the little silver package.

“What is it?” she asked.

“Typically one opens it and then discovers for herself.”

The first true smile crossed her face that day.

It didn’t matter what was inside.

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