The Imperfect Gift




You don’t know what pain is until you’ve spent an enormous amount of time and energy and a lot of yourself into finding just the right gift for the one you love … only to have him act as if he was horrified by it. It’s no fun, I can tell you. It makes you feel like dirt and ruins the holidays.

I adore the man I live with. He sees to it that I have gourmet meals whenever I want them, served on a fancy glass dish. He’s loving and kind, and the way he touches me just makes me quiver inside and out. He’s the kind who would never hurt the feelings of a stranger. So why, then, did he crush my feelings by refusing my gift? I don’t mean that he took it and pretended to like it. I mean that he flat-out refused it, hated it, and threw it away right in front of me.

Where did I go so wrong?

Christmas was a week away and I still hadn’t found the right gift, and I was painfully aware that I was running out of time. So, on that day I was determined to find the right gift even if it took me until Christmas morning itself. I vowed not to eat or sleep until I found it. And for me not to eat or sleep was the ultimate sacrifice. I confess that I’m very lazy. I invented laziness. However, at this time and on this day, I made a promise to myself and I kept it.

Some things are elusive, you know? And the Perfect Gift is as elusive as rainbows in a sunny sky. Just as you think it’s within reach, it’s gone. But I am patient and determined, and I searched without rest. And then, right under my nose, there it was: the ideal gift. Believe me, I pounced on it. I’ve often heard him say that if you give someone something that you yourself really and truly like, the object of your affections will also like it. I know I sure liked it. It was frankincense and myrrh, the Hope diamond, a mink coat, a yacht and Microsoft shares all rolled into one. Tired and hungry, but happy from my hunt I took it home.

Of course I had to find a good hiding place since it wasn’t Christmas yet. I finally hid it in the corner of the coat closet (he’s a wonderful guy, but cleaning out closets is definitely not his thing). The door never goes quite closed on that closet because it’s so stuffed with coats and boxes that will be used “someday.” There was one dark corner behind a pair of boots that was perfect.

Christmas morning was like my gift—perfect. Fluffy white snowflakes, a half-dozen carolers, a fire in the fireplace … needless to say, I toasted myself well! The tree was covered with red bows and what looked like all the ornaments ever made by Man.

At last the time came for gift giving and I ran to the closet.

My heart sank; it wasn’t there! What could have happened to it? Frantically I searched. And there it was. A coat had fallen off a hanger and was covering it up. I grabbed it and ran back to the living room. I felt like my grin went from one ear to the other and I knew my eyes were as big and shiny as the ornaments on the tree.

And I gave him my present.

He looked at it and went, “Aaaaagggghhhh.” I kid you not. He actually went “Aaaaagggghhhh.” And then he threw my gift outside. And threw me out after it, right into a fresh snowbank. I lay there, stunned, brokenhearted, cold, and wet.

Oh, well. He’ll let me back in soon, partly because he’s a softy and I’m the only cat he’s got.

Until then, I’ll just curl up here in front of the door and wait, my face covered by my tail, only my ears exposed to the cold. I’ll be warm enough, but when he opens that door he’s going to encounter the most pathetic put-upon cat ever, He’ll feel horribly guilty, and deservedly so. But until that happens, I’ll just stay warm and try to figure out why he didn’t like his gift. It was the finest, fattest mouse I had ever caught.

Ruth Sims was born with a manual typewriter in one hand and Wite-Out in the other, which was very uncomfortable for her mother. Now on the dark side of seventy, she can’t remember if she has one husband and three grandkids or three husbands and one grandkid-but she does know she has five unfinished novels and a half dozen unfinished short stories and novellas. Since it takes her 20 years to finish a book, she estimates she has to live to be 170 in order to finish them all. And if she lives that long, she may actually get out of the Midwest and see the world.

Advent Calendar Giveaway!

Ruth will be giving a Goody Bag with bookmarks and a seasonal surprise to one lucky commenter, winner to be announced on Christmas Day

The BONUS BUMPER PRIZE QUESTION (don’t answer this – just save them up for Christmas Eve.)

5. Name the second, third and sixth reindeer mentioned in order in the poem “A Visit From St Nicholas”


34 Responses

  1. Ha! Clever denouement!

    • I’m glad you liked it. I don’t usually do clever! It was fun to write. We did actually have a tom cat many years ago who gifted us with crickets every summer. Never caught a mouse that I know of, but he was the bete noir of crickets.

  2. Fantastic! You totally had me fooled! 😀

    Mmm, week-old dead mouse? I can’t imagine why that wasn’t popular!

  3. Oh Ruth, that’s brilliant. Best post of the calendar so far!


    • Awww. Thank you! ([whispering] Pssst. Charlie, the tomato red Porsche with the white upholstery is on its way.)

      Don’t you love the picture Erastes came up with to illustrate it?

  4. What a sweet story–as I sit here with my own cat peering over the top of the computer at me. What does she want, I wonder?

    Thanks, Ruth!


    • She wants you to worship her, of course. That’s what every cat wants. As the saying goes, “Cats were once worshipped as gods and they have never forgotten that.”

  5. That was one sweet story!
    Reading it the second time I truly saw poor kitten baby 😉

    • Shh. Don’t anybody breathe too loud or make any sudden movements. My internet is working–at least at the moment. I’ve been off since yesterday.

      I’m so glad you liked the story. I had fun with it.

    • Shh. Don’t anybody breathe too loud or make any sudden movements. My internet is working–at least at the moment. I’ve been off since yesterday.
      Well, I’ve tried twice to post this and it isn’t working. Third time charm?

  6. LOL

    I enjoyed the story. It was very cute.

  7. Snicker. Somehow I just *knew* it would be a cat, but I think it had to be the food served on a glass plate that tipped me off. But still, very cool and a lovely ending — heh heh. I can just see my boys doing that to me.

  8. What a terrific denoument, Ruth! It certainly caught me by suprise.

    I once owned a cat who had the unnerving habit of generously leaving a chewed-over mouse’s head it had caught and eaten on one’s bedroom pillow. Highly appreciated as a token of affection, but not too welcome nevertheless.

  9. Such a cute story. My cats don’t bring me mice, but they’ve taken to burying their toys in the litter tray. Or playing cricket with their toys, which is the only other reason I can think of for the toys ending up there.

    • reminds me of a story I heard somewhere (supposed to be true) of a cat who became very jealous when a new (human) baby came into the house and he took to taking socks out of the laundry and hiding them–all in the same place, like a cache. True? I don’t know. But it could be.

  10. I love it.. and I am amazed I did not guess, since to read I highlight, copy and click read. and I saw the kitty picture.

    This happened to me, by the way.. or actually my mother. Our cat Koko brought the mouse in, alive.. and my mother shrieded and threw it out. I, 4 uears old, went to save it.. got bitten and 15 innoculations in the groin, the pasteur treartment, later… the doctor gave me 15 lollipops..

    I hereby enter the drawing.

    Nan Hawthorne

    • Oh, you poor baby. I’ve heard those shots are very,very painful but don’t know firsthand, thank goodness. Of course, Nan, if it would happen to anybody it would happen to you! Thanks for liking the story. It was fun to do.

  11. LOL! Okay, that rocked. I didn’t see it coming at all. 😀


  12. After reading “You don’t know what pain is until…” my lazy brain ended the sentence with ‘until you shovel the snow from your path’ 🙂

    Didn’t expect the ending, bravo!

    • Ain’t that the truth? Snow looks so fluffy and is so freakin’ heavy in a shovel. Our neighbor a few years ago used a snow blower to clear the gravel driveway between our houses. Guess what? I heard thuds and when he got through our siding looked like somebody’d shot it with a shotgun.

  13. Adorable! I loved it. 🙂

  14. I think your human needs a physical. He didn’t smell that stinky dead mouse in the closet? *g*

    Very cute story, Ruth. I was feeling all indignant on your behalf till I caught on!

  15. Well, my day was over 24 hours or so ago so I yield the calendar to other talents.

    Thank you all for reading my little story and letting me know how much you enjoyed it.

    Happy Christmouse to you all.

  16. Perfect!
    The Kitten Clan who live with me give it 5 tails up!

  17. LOL! That’s brilliant! You had me fooled all the way through and I burst out laughing at the end. Wonderful 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: