The Gift

June 15, 2010
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“The big two one! How does it feel? ” Brian was always excited about Natalie’s birthday. He couldn’t help it. Brian felt that her birth was something to celebrate every day. If she wasn’t born, then his life would be empty without her.
“I feel the same as I did yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. I don’t understand why you like my birthday so much.” Natalie laughed and leaned against the kitchen counter in their one bedroom apartment. She was right, she didn’t understand. When Brian’s parents died when he was just a young boy, Natalie was there to put the pieces back together. She meant the world to him. Brains love for Natalie grew every second. If only she knew.
“Baby, you are going to be so psyched when you see what I got you. I know you are going to love it.” Natalie could see Brian practically jumping out of his skin. She always loved how excited he would get by the smallest things.
“You know I didn’t want anything for my birthday,” she said with a soft smile dancing on the corners of her mouth.
“Nat, trust me, you want this present.”
“And how do you know?” Natalie rebutted playfully. Brian got up from his recliner and walked over to her, wrapping his arms around her waist. She returned the action and placed her arms around his neck. This made her feel protected and safe and it helped him come to the realization that she was his and only his.
“Because I know you. I know how smart and funny you are. I know how beautiful and intelligent you are. I know that you love oranges but you hate tangerines. I know how you are ticklish right under your jaw. I know how you laugh when you get nervous. I know how you --”
“Alright, alright. I get it, you know me,” she said laughing again. The list could go on forever for Brian. He knew everything about her since the second grade. Friends to best friends and best friends to lovers, it was only right to both of them that they would be at this point in their lives. Deeply and irreversibly in love. A kiss was all that was needed to show how they felt about each other and with that, everyone would know they were destine to be together. Breaking the kiss, Brian regrettably let go of his love and walked to the door.
“Where are you going,” Natalie asked, still weak from Brian’s kiss.
“That is for me to know and for you to never find out. And Nat don’t forget, be at the beach by three. And wear something nice,” Brian shouted, closing the door behind him.
“I won’t! I love you,” she yelled.
With a muffled ‘I love you too’ seeping through the cracks of the door frame, Natalie went to get dressed for a surprise party that she knew was for her at three o’clock on the beach.

Brian however, had some business to attend to before the party that he thought was a surprise. Once Brian got in his car, he drove to a store to pick up the gift that he knew would make Natalie’s heart sing.

“I bet she is going to love it,” said the old man behind the counter. “If I had gotten my lady one like that, she would have had a coronary.” This put a smile on Brian’s face.

“Well then sir, I don’t know if that will happen. But if it does, then at least I would know that she likes it.” The old man laughed with Brian. “Thanks for your help sir! It really means a lot.” Brian reached out his hand and the old man grabbed it and shook firmly.

“You’re welcome. Now go get her tiger.” And with that said, Brian left the store and got in his car. Placing the present inside his jacket pocket, he put the key in the ignition and left on his way to the beach.

Back at home, Natalie put the finishing touches on her makeup and looked in the mirror. Wearing the dress Brian bought her for her birthday last year, she knew it would make him happy. Gently, she grazed the dark blue embroidered flower on her white dress with the tips of her fingers remembering the day she received it.

“And since I am taking you out to dinner tonight, I thought I would buy you some out to dinner attire.” Brian ran to their bedroom and flew out of site.

“It isn’t lingerie is it,” Natalie said jokingly. Brian returned from the bedroom with a blue box and a card.

“That’s the after dinner present,” he said with a glimmer of his future activities for the night shining in his eyes.

“I think that present is for you, not me.” Sticking out his tongue, he gave Natalie the card first. Natalie gently opened the envelope and read the card. And at the bottom in Brian’s delicate script, was a small glimpse into his heart.
Dear Nat,
Words could not express how much you mean to me. When I wake up every day and see your beautiful face, I know that I am the luckiest man in the world. It’s hard to believe that your mine. You will always be my Natie Bug till the day I die. I love you more than anything in the world.
Yours forever,
Your Brainy Brian

This memory warmed Natalie’s heart. Though Brian didn’t know it, Natalie would keep this card forever in the secret compartment of her jewelry box, searching for it whenever she missed him.

Quickly glancing at the clock, she realized that it was time to leave and drive to the beach.



“Where is she,” Natalie’s mother Joanne said anxiously pacing across the brim of the ocean and biting her fingernails.

“She will be here,” said Natalie’s sister Susan reassuringly to her mother.

“And where is Brian? Didn’t he say he would be here by two thirty?”

“Mom, don’t you remember what Brian said he had to do before the party?” Susan always had to calm her mother down. It wasn’t rare that she would have a small panic attack before and event like this. She would get them when dinner wasn’t ready on time.

“Right...right…” Slowly calming herself down, Joanne feels a small vibration in her pocket. Looking at the screen, she see’s Natalie’s name.

“Everyone, it’s her! Shhhhh! Hello? Oh, hi sweetheart…You’re stuck in traffic? An accident? Okay, well take your time….Love you too.” With a sigh, Joanne hung up her cell phone and began to pace across the edge of the ocean once again.



Natalie sat in her car, touching up her makeup in the small car mirror while the traffic was at a standstill. Glancing at her phone, Natalie picked it up out of the cup holder and began to send Brian a text message.

Stuck in traffic. Gonna be a little late.
Sorry babe. I love you.


Natalie placed her phone back in the cup holder and put her car in park knowing she would be trapped on the express way for a long while.


After a half hour of mingling and mindless dancing, Joanne got a text message from Natalie saying she was looking for a parking spot by the beach.
“Everyone, she is here! Get ready!” Joanne and Susan both pulled out their cameras and got ready to take a photo of the day that Natalie would never forget.
As Natalie approached the beach, she prepared herself to be bombarded with people.
“Surprise,” everyone shouted. Natalie couldn’t help but smile as she watched her family and friends begin to celebrate the one day of the year that she never really liked.
“Wow! This is awesome! I don’t know what to say right now.” Each and every person chuckled with Natalie. After a moment of laughing and fun, Natalie’s mother and sister greeted her first before the stampede came.
“Hey mom,” Natalie said after some small talk with a few family members, “Do you know where Brian is,” she asked concerned.
“I have no idea. He should have been here by now.” Joanne looked at Susan cautiously and walked over to a group of people sitting at a table.
Natalie pulled her phone from her purse and texted Brian worriedly.

Baby, where are you?
I am here and I don’t see you.
Call me when you get this…I’m worried…I love you


Natalie put the phone away in her pocket and walked over to her mother telling her about the text she sent Brian. Eventually minutes turned into hours and everyone at the party was getting upset over Brian’s absence.

“I don’t know where he could possibly be,” Natalie said anxious. “He told me that he was going somewhere and he said to be here at three.” She replayed the conversation over and over again in her mind.
“Where are you going,” Natalie asked, still weak from Brian’s kiss.
“That is for me to know and for you to never find out. And Nat don’t forget, be at the beach by three. And wear something nice,” Brian shouted, closing the door behind him.
“I won’t! I love you,” she yelled.

“I don’t get it. He isn’t answering my phone calls or my text messages.” Within a second, Natalie heard a small vibration. Not bothering to look at the number, she picked up the phone.
“Brian?” Natalie crossed her fingers and prayed that it was him.
“Excuse me miss, are you by any chance Natalie Brinkman,” a deep male said, authority ringing in his voice.
“Yes it is. Who am I speaking to?”
“This is officer Dellaraba from the Nassau County police station. Do you know a Mr. Brian Seelly?”
Natalie clutched her chest and almost dropped her phone. “Yes,” she said faintly. “Why are you asking?”
“I would prefer that you come down to the station as soon as possible so I can answer any questions you may have. And I would also like it if you brought a family member down to the station with you,” the officer said, his voice sounding strained.
“Okay officer. I am on my way.”
“Thank you.” Natalie heard the line click and closed her phone.
Though the guests at Natalie’s party fluttered with questions, Natalie picked up her belongings and grabbed her mother’s hand, running to her car to speak with officer Dellaraba.
Once Natalie and Joanne arrived at the police station, her heart began to jump out of her chest. She didn’t know what to expect. Was Brian in some kind of trouble? She thought anxiously. Is he hurt?
Walking into the police building, they were stopped and taken to one of the officers who showed them to officer Dellaraba’s office.
“Just wait here ladies. He will be out in a minute.” The young officer left them with a half hearted smile and walked back to his desk.
Natalie tapped her foot on the ground impatiently just like she would always do when she got nervous and her mother watched her daughter worriedly. When the office door crept open, Natalie’s heart jumped and she looked up to see an older officer with a white beard approach her and her mother.
“Miss Brinkman?”
“Yes.”
“Hello, I am officer Dellaraba. Please, come in.” The officer gestured to the inside of his office while Natalie and her mother followed.
“Have a seat,” he softly said to both of them. The officer gestured to the chairs placed in the front of his desk and they both sat down cautiously.
“Officer, what is going on? Is this about Brian?” Natalie’s mother asked impatiently. Natalie avoided talking to her mother while driving to the police station and she found it comforting that she wasn’t the only one wondering if this meeting was about Brian.
“Miss. Brinkman, I don’t know how to say this. This is by far the hardest thing that my job requires and every time it gets harder,” the officer looked at Natalie with compassion and her heart sunk, afraid of the news he would soon give her. “Today at about two fifty, there was a car accident on the LIE. It seems that a Toyota under your friends name was involved in the accident along with an eighteen wheel truck and we believe that Mr. Seelly died on impact. We called you down today to identify the body to confirm that it was Mr. Seelly who was involved in the accident.” Natalie clutched her chest and a scream flooded from her mouth. Natalie collapsed in her chair and her mother held onto her tight, crying with her daughter. The officer walked close to Natalie and her mother, trying to help the pain that broke free in both of their hearts. “I am so sorry about this. He didn’t feel a thing. He died instantly but I am going to need you ladies to identify the body.” Officer Dellaraba walked to the door and grabbed the handle. “I will give you a moment. Again, I am so sorry for your loss. I will be out here when you are ready.”
It took hours until Natalie and her mother could stand up from their seats. Natalie wanted the world to end. She Knew she couldn’t live in a world where Brian didn’t exist. Natalie’s mother held her daughter up, afraid that at any moment, her daughter would collapse to the floor. When Natalie placed her hand on the door knob, it slowly opened for her and on the other side, officer Delleraba stood.
“This way…” He said, directing them out of the room.
Natalie knew before they uncovered the body that it was Brian. She could see his gentle silhouette softly protrude from the white blanket that covered him. After the officer reviled his face, Natalie lost control and fell to the floor. Her mother fell with her. When they settled down, officer Delleraba handed Natalie a small plastic bag.
“These were found in his car upon the scene…” Natalie clutched the bag and looked at her mother. “Let me drive you ladies home.” He said kindly. But Natalie and her mother refused. Joanne drove home, knowing that Natalie couldn’t handle being in a car at the moment let alone drive one. The whole way home, Natalie was quiet and didn’t move from the first position she sat in.
When they got to Natalie’s apartment, her mother walked her inside.
“I’m going to stay the night…” Joanne said firmly. Natalie didn’t acknowledge her. Instead she went into her bedroom and opened up the plastic bag that officer Delleraba gave her.
Inside, Brian’s phone, wallet, and keys sat at the top. But underneath, she could see a white card with her name written across the front of it with Brian’s delicate script. Natalie pulled it out quickly and ripped it open as fast as she could; somehow hoping that Brian was hidden inside.

Dear Nat,

This card is not only a birthday card, but a glimpse into my mind, into my heart. Since the first moment I saw you I fell in love with you. Your smile, your hair, your touch; everything about you is perfect in every way. And I know that you are too good to be true. I don’t deserve you. But for some reason, god gave me the most beautiful thing he could have ever created. A gift from angels…that’s not even a good enough way to describe you. But regardless, I would be the stupidest man in the world if I didn’t keep you forever. So I ask you this question now, hoping you will accept me, my flaws, and most importantly my heart. It has always been yours and it always will be until the day I die. So Nat…I just have one question for you and I pray to god that the answer is yes…Natie Bug, will you marry me?

P.S. no matter what the answer, I will always love you…







Brian
Natalie yelled from the pain she felt. It was unbearable. She didn’t know how this could have happened to her. All her life she waited for this question and it was asked moments too late. After moments of endless crying, she looked back at the small plastic bag with Brian’s belongings and took one last peek inside. When she glanced again, she spotted a small black box. When she took it out of the bag and opened it, a silver diamond ring lay incased in a blanket of dark velvet.
A flood of tears fell on the card next to Brian’s name. As she took one last look at the card and ring, she closed them shut, walked over to her vanity, and put them away in the secret compartment of her jewelry box, leaving her heart inside it forever.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Savvy_ said...
Jun. 23, 2010 at 1:27 am
Aww, I loved this story. Keep writing<3
 
gymbabe This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 20, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Awww this is so sad, but amazing job.  Very good writing, nice and relatable.  Great job.  Keep writing!

Btw, will you check out and comment on my work?

 
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