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Sunday, February 08, 2004

Gifts of Love 

It's Sunday, so this morning I was picking up the aftermath of the week – the shoes, outerwear, junk mail, and dirty dishes that are scattered across the living room until Sundays when I start preparing for the coming week. Today, the second scarf I put away reminded me of the man who'd given it to me.

After an affair, what do you do with gifts from a former lover? I have a friend who has kept every piece of jewelry but won't wear them. I returned earrings once, but then, I hadn't really liked them from the start. The gift giver was hurt, and that was a bonus. My first husband gave me a simple chain necklace when we were young and impoverished. I wore it every day until it broke years after the marriage had. I didn't associate the necklace with him – it was simply an object that I enjoyed wearing. Unfortunately, he noticed my wearing it whenever he saw me and thought I was using it as some sort of talisman to reunite us. That was awkward.

I still love the pearls and diamonds my second husband gave me, and every time I put them on I think of him and the occasions when he gave them to me – which I suppose is part of the point of giving jewelry, but it might help that I'm still friendly with him. On the other hand, the scarf evoked memories this morning of an unpleasant man and a painful episode in my life, yet I don't hold it against the scarf.

There's probably a rule to be written from this, but it might be easier simply to give perishables – they could be the more appropriate gift anyway, given how volatile relationships seem to be these days.

Countdown:   S I X . . .


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