The Perfect Gift This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Every person, at least once in their lives, whether it is for a graduation, birthday, or Christmas, must shop for that one perfect gift for the person who seems to own everything. The search for that perfect gift seems to be the most impossible mission.

Three summers ago, I bought several gifts for my family and friends for Christmas. It is easy enough to shop for your family when they've been dropping hints for months on what they want. I bought my sister her favorite CD, my father fuzzy slippers, and I bought my mother her favorite perfume. As for my friends, they told me what they wanted for Christmas, and I did my best to fulfill their requests. The biggest problem I faced that year was trying to buy my best friend, Wendy, her Christmas gift.

Wendy and I had been close friends for years. We were best friends who did almost everything together. We lived near each other, we walked to school together, and we even had all the same classes together. Almost every minute of my day was spent with her.

Wendy was an unusual person because I knew her so well, but I just couldn't think of a single gift I could get her for Christmas. She came from a poor family and materialistic things didn't really have much meaning to her. I thought of buying her a gold charm, or maybe a necklace, but I knew too well what type of person she was, and these beautiful gifts would be about as interesting to her as they would be to me.

Christmas was coming, and I didn't have the foggiest idea of what to get her. One day, Wendy and I were working on homework together. Suddenly a commercial came on TV about a play called "Phantom of the Opera" in Toronto. From the previews, the play looked pretty interesting, but Wendy thought it was the greatest thing in the world. When I saw her eyes light up and cheerfulness fill the room, I knew deep in my heart I had to get her something just as wonderful as this. Before the night ended, Wendy promised me that if she ever had enough money to see "Phantom of the Opera," she would invite me.

Several weeks passed, and all my friends knew how much Wendy wanted to see the play. That's all she ever talked about. I thought of buying her the movie or possibly the cassette, but all of her friends beat me to it. If only I could purchase the tickets to the show, this would be the greatest gift ever. Unfortunately, the tickets were over two hundred dollars, and I was just a fifteen-year-old kid. There was no way I could come up with much money, or could I?

It was November and I had about six weeks to save. I started with my life savings from delivering newspapers. It amounted to just a little over fifty dollars. Every day I would run home from school, hurry with my homework so I could begin my chores. I washed cars, raked people's leaves, and I even went grocery shopping for my neighbors, though I didn't have a car. Overall, I think the exercise was beneficial. Usually I worked extremely long hours and sometimes I would skip a meal, but in the end, all those long hours paid off. I had raised enough money to purchase the tickets before the December 20th deadline.

I called Wendy up a week in advance and told her not to make any plans for December 20th because I had a surprise for her. I purchased the tickets and put them into a plain envelope with her name on the outside.

That Saturday, the night of the play, I approached Wendy's door with such confidence because I knew I had the greatest Christmas gift of all. I knocked on the door, and Wendy opened it. I could tell something wasn't right because there were tears running from her eyes. As I entered the house, Wendy told me her grandmother had just died a few hours before and she had to babysit her younger sister while her mother met some relatives flying in for the funeral.

My surprise Christmas gift was ruined, and all plans for the night would have to be canceled. I couldn't believe this was happening because everything I worked so hard for was ruined.

Wendy asked me to baby-sit with her that night until her mother returned so she wouldn't have to be alone. I knew if I had left Wendy, she probably would have cried the entire night. I could have taken someone else to the play, and I knew my best friend was too upset to be alone.

In order to cheer her up, Wendy opened one of her gifts, "Phantom of the Opera" movie. We watched it the entire night. When she wasn't paying attention, I looked at the tickets one last time and then tossed them into the trash. If only I could have taken her to see the play, it would have been the best gift.

Three years after her granmother died, Wendy told me she had just purchased two tickets to see the play. It would be her first time to see it, and she invited me to come with her.

I met Wendy at her house, and as she was getting ready, I noticed a small picture album on her dresser. I began to browse through it, looking at the old pictures one by one. Finally, I came to the last page of the book, but there were no pictures. There was only a white envelope and two unused tickets marked December 20th. On the side of the tickets there was a torn page from her diary. After I read the page, I realized now that I really did give her the greatest gift of all. 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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MerelyDreamingOutLoud This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 14, 2013 at 10:59 pm
That was such a wonderful story, I loved it! Made me tear up a litte :3 nice job!
 
yellowpencil said...
Sept. 14, 2013 at 10:27 am
That was beautiful... Absolutely beautiful. ;,,)
 
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