Sometimes the perfect present is the simplest of all.
|Snow crunched under Marvin’s boots as he shifted from side to side. “It’s getting dark, Becca…” he said, breath fogging in the air. The ax handle was a cold lump against his shoulder.
Rebecca frowned up at him, serious as only a five-year-old could be, “We haven’t found the right one yet, Daddy.”
“What about that one?” he asked with a half-hearted gesture toward a small tree a few yards away. It wouldn’t be tough to haul. His jacket pocket buzzed. Marvin didn’t have to check it to know it was Penny calling, wondering why his visitation was taking so long.
“That one isn’t right, either,” Rebecca said. The phone dinged with a voicemail. Penny would understand, he told himself.
“How about this one?” she said, pointing ahead. He had to admit it was the perfect tree, six foot tall and loaded down with needles. Marvin tried to remember how tall the ceiling in his apartment was. Would it fit? Marvin shrugged the ax off of his shoulder. A tree like that could take a while to load up. Penny was going to be mad at him. Again.
“You’re right. It’s perfect.” Rebecca’s face glowed with pride and warmth filled his heart at the sight. Things had been hard this year, with the divorce and everything after, but Becca made everything worth it. Laying the ax in the snow, Marvin reached into his pocket and pulled out a small glass bird, delicate and shining with a garnet, Rebecca’s birthstone, where its heart would be. “I think it’ll be the perfect home for this little guy.”
"It’s beautiful!" Rebecca cried, throwing her arms around him. She pulled back, her face twisted with dismay. "I didn't get you a present..."
“You've given me everything I could want," Marvin smiled. "Merry Christmas, kiddo.”