this morning i looked at the picture i have of me and lorraine on her fiftieth birthday. she looks healthy and alive, i look taut and stressed. she was entering the happiest ten years of her life, i was locked in a horrible divorce. but i would go back to that day in a heartbeat.
i was feeling pretty bad, when i heard her say, clear as a bell : so go buy yourself a present.
"lorraine," i whispered. "is that you?"
it's my birthday, isn't it? go buy yourself a present... something nice, something you'll like. after all... that's what you used to do anyway.
"hey," i protested, somewhat hurt. "i thought you LIKED the stuff i gave you."
of course i did, she said. but i always knew you picked out stuff you liked too. just in case i didn't.
a love of retail therapy is something lorraine and i shared. we LOVED shopping - not necessarily together. but really... it seemed silly to think about going birthday shopping for a dead friend. what was i supposed to say if anyone asked? i'm going to buy a birthday present for my dead friend - from her to me. then i thought of something.
"hey," i said to lorraine, on my way to The Purple Rose where i work three hours every thursday... "who is supposed to pay for this present? you or me?"
don't worry, i heard unequivocally. i'll take care of it.
so i went to work. while i was opening up the shop, i noticed a small aquamarine heart pendant lying on top of the locked jewelry case in which it belongs. i thought it was interesting it was out, since laura the owner had closed the store yesterday, but we frequently set things aside for people and its not unusual that someone might've asked her to set this little pendant aside. but there was no paper, no note, so i figured it'd just been swept aside and so i put the pendant under the desk and forgot about it.
i didn't forget about my present. i prowled around the store, considering what i might want.
oh, it's in here, lorraine assured me. you'll know it when you see it.
laura showed up a few minutes early, we got talking, and i forgot to mention the pendant. there was a check in the mail this afternoon... for an odd amount... 13.53 cents.... an unexpected refund of some kind or another.
i didn't think too much of it until i went back tonight to go with laura and a couple other friends to see an Internationally Famous Medium, and she asked me about the pendant. i told her how i'd found it. laura assured me she had NO idea how the heart pendant had gotten out of the locked case. and then we looked at the price.
it was $13.50. aquamarine is my birth stone.
happy birthday in heaven, my dear, dear friend.