The Gift

Since everyone is doing a Christmas story, I thought I’d do the same. Enjoy.

Marcus Tillman smiled as he observed Kathryn opening her locker from afar. Kathryn Flowers, with her golden locks and pearly symmetrical frame. It didn’t seem fair to everyone else. And yet, Marcus believed it was destiny, especially since she broke up with Jesse Evans.

He had his proposal rehearsed. He repeated it to himself a hundred times until it was right. He was all set to go until Busby Barker jolted him from his dreamy glare. Kathryn strutted away from her locker.

“Whew.” Busby pushed himself away, fanning his hand.

“So, do you have it?”

Marcus pulled a sapphire box from his coat. He opened it, revealing a sterling silver necklace with a snowflake charm. The charm held a round sky blue stone in its center.

“Kathryn’s going to love it,” Busby said. “But are you sure you don’t need any help?”

“I’m fine,” Marcus replied.

“I don’t know. All that cologne you’re wearing reeks of desperation.”

Marcus sniffed around. He didn’t seem to care how much he lathered onto himself.

“It’s her favorite.”

“Ok, if you say so.”

Marcus closed the box and hid it in his pocket. The school bell rang.

“You’d better make use of those legs, Mr. Track Star.”

Busby jogged off. Marcus went the opposite way.

It would be lunch before he saw Kathryn again. She sat with the rest of the cheerleaders in the courtyard. Marcus squinted and popped his knuckles. He felt the perspiration in his hand stuffed in his coat pocket.

“Marcus?”

His heart best faster as every second ticked away.

“MARCUS?!”

He gasped at the second mention of his name. He turned to find Hannah Whistler shaking his shoulder.

“So when are you going to ask her?”

Marcus puffed his chest, then let out a blast of air. He relinquished his fists and shook his hands.

“Now,” he said. “Right now.”

But Hannah tugged his arm.

“Listen, Marcus. Don’t rush it. You gotta be smooth about it. Don’t let her see you sweat. It definitely doesn’t look good on you men as it does on us girls.”

Marcus shut his eyes and took another big breath. The bell rang, ending their lunch break. Kathryn and her crew split up to their separate classrooms. Marcus heaved once more and strutted out onto the court.

“Good luck!”

But he didn’t hear Hannah. He tapped Kathryn on her shoulder. She turned and immediately stepped back once she saw him.

“Marcus, hi.”

“Hey Kathryn. Mind if I walk you to class?”

“Umm…sure.”

It was perfect. Their classrooms were in the same building, on opposite sides.

“What’s going on?”

“Not much. Just getting ready for the holidays.”

“I know. It’s so crazy. I still have to shop for my little sisters. I have no idea what to get them.”

“They haven’t told you?”

“No, and I don’t know why. I’m the favorite sister.”

Marcus smiled as she spoke. He wanted to reach for her hand, but held back. Not before he gave her the gift. They stopped in front of Kathryn’s classroom.

“Well, I have to get going. It was nice seeing you.”

“Wait.”

He reached for her. Kathryn’s hazel eyes widened.

“I wanted to give you something.”

“Meet me at the parking lot after school.”

Marcus let go of her arm and she sauntered into her class. As the door shut, Marcus grunted in frustration. He couldn’t believe he let his opportunity slip through his fingers. But he released his fury with a burst of air. He nodded at her words. After school. It was perfect.

The final bell rang. Marcus beamed in delight. He rushed to his locker and retrieved what books he needed for homework. He shut the door and Hannah appeared.

“Jesus, you scared me.”

“I’m sorry.”

Marcus reached in his pockets for the box. Hannah shot a doleful look to him.

“Listen, Marcus. I don’t think this is a good idea.”

“Wait. You were all for it. What changed?”

“It’s just that I saw Kathryn…and…”

“What? She left?”

“No. I’m sure she’s at the parking lot. But she’s waiting…”

“Look, I gotta go. I’ll let you know how it turns out.”

He gave her a peck on her cheek and rushed out. The parking lot was on the back side of the school. Marcus ran as fast as he could, weaving his way through the student body. He saw Kathryn sitting on the hood of her car. Marcus brushed his shirt down and ran his hand across his short hair. He let out a breath and walked across the street until he saw Jesse Evans approach. He saw him pull something out of his pocket and Kathryn clasped her hands in shock. His body started to shake. She hopped, then leaped toward Jesse and they exchanged a long kiss. He shuddered as his destiny wrapped herself in her on-again boyfriend. He walked back across the street. His head lowered, he didn’t notice Hannah at the corner.

“Marcus. I’m…I’m sorry. I tried to tell you…”

But Marcus walked past her, his box still in hand. She followed him to the courtyard where he stopped in front of a trash can, still shaking. Hannah screamed as he raised his hand.

“Wait!”

The voluminous voice startled Marcus. He turned and saw Hannah sticking her hand out. She approached him and spread her arms out. Marcus didn’t understand why, but he approached her and she hugged him tight. His sobs turned to full-blown cries. She caressed him as he released his tears.

“It was supposed to be me. Not Jesse.”

“I know.”

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Author: George R. McNeese

I'm originally from Illinois, currently residing in Georgia. I graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing. I am blessed with a supportive wife and family.

One thought on “The Gift”

  1. Young love, so sad and sweet. This is my favorite bit: “Listen, Marcus. Don’t rush it. You gotta be smooth about it. Don’t let her see you sweat. It definitely doesn’t look good on you men as it does on us girls.”

    Like

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