Keeping a Secret

A thoughtful gift says a lot about a person. The perfect gift can be an indicator of a good listener, or simply someone who knows a person well and cares enough to get them a gift they will love and appreciate. It’s easy to skimp out on gifts and just get a funny card and some cash, but the best gift is one that takes time and attention to find and give to those that we care about.

My big sister, Maddie, is four years older than I am. She is a whirlwind; she can be funny and kind, but she is easily set off. Dark and loud, Maddie’s bad side is a place in which no self-respecting person wants to reside. Luckily, anyone with ears could hear her hints that she wanted a dog. Unfortunately, her gift would be a bit late. By ‘‘a bit’’ I mean about 3 months. It was early September, and the sun still exhaled summer heat upon the earth. Every day Mom went on the computer and looked though the newspaper classifieds for a puppy for sale. Mom’s covertness working to her advantage, Maddie had no idea what Mom was doing every Sunday when she read the paper. Finally, she found a Chihuahua breeder who had puppies for a decent price. The only downside was that he and his precious pups were a 3-hour drive away. Mom and Dad would leave at noon to pick up the dog. Maddie would wake up around two. My brother, who is unfortunately not a part of this fantastical tale, would not be home at all. Mom and Dad and the pup would get home at around six in the evening, give or take an hour for traffic and rest stops or what have you. I would have to entertain and/or totally distract my sister for about four hours.

Distracting Maddie was not easy; she was stubborn and hard bent on finding out what was going on. Maddie was very suspicious. I told her that our parents were out doing grocery shopping, but that excuse only lasted me for two hours. I was halfway there. Eventually Maddie seemed to realize that I wasn’t giving up whatever secret I was keeping because she decided she wanted to dye our hair.

The next thing I know I have two not-oh-so-adorable reddish blond streaks in my hair, and Maddie’s hair is similar, but her streaks were the red hue that they were advertised to look like on the box. This distraction took up another hour and a half, but the coloring in my hair would last four to ten washes, and the bleach would be there until I dyed it back to its natural color, cut it off, or grew it out. Mom and Dad had just texted me and said they were nearly home. Maddie, nagging me about what was taking our parents so long, continued to dry her short hair to see if the color would remain the same when her hair was dry. My body sagged with relief when I heard Mom call out, “hello!”

Confusion quickly replaced my relief. There was no happy puppy in my parents’ arms, and they didn’t look very eager or anxious. Then I saw the shoebox Mom was holding gingerly and exclaimed, “Oh! He’s in there!” Mom got a stricken look upon her face and shook her head, but not in a no-he’s-not way, more of a “Shush! You’ll give away the surprise!” way. I wasn’t worried, though, because Maddie was looking into a different, shoe-filled shoebox and ‘‘oohing’’ over the purchase. Mom turned to her and said that they got her another, even more special pair and she had to open it very carefully. Looking confused, Maddie did as Mom said.

Then she proceeded to shriek, drop the box, and the dog within it, and exclaim, “It’s a rat!” only to realize it was actually a puppy after closer inspection. She thanked everyone profusely and a bit incredulously. Obviously, this surprise didn’t exactly work out perfectly, and I have the hair to prove it, but in the words of Goethe, “Certain flaws are necessary for the whole.”





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