Thursday, June 28, 2007


It was the gifts that gave us away. I wonder now if gifts are always corrupt. If something is always required in return; gratitude, a favour, friendship, influence. Can a gift be given without asking for something for back?
I like presents. Always have. What difference does it make if it is a mutual exchange of some kind? Aren’t all relationships mercantile? A little give and take?
It started with a pair of shoes, fashionable and brown leather. Then cds, a Parker pen with a gold plated nib, perfume, even a portable telly for my room. We went for long drives, got MacDonald’s burgers to eat in the backseat, we talked – he listened. It is natural to want to return small kindnesses, isn’t it?
He never hurt me. Love isn’t always picture perfect. It doesn’t follow rules. Being disapproved of seems to be the biggest test of a love affair. We had a love affair, what can outsiders know? I loved to be kissed.
The telly gave the game away. My mother said ‘Why would HE of all people want to buy you a telly?’ I couldn’t lie, I mean its wrong to lie and so I told her the truth. She took me off the pill and called the police. And that was that, no more presents.

Heidi James
Heidi James' novella 'The Mesmerists' Daughter' will be published this summer on Apis Books. Her novel 'Carbon' will be published on Wrecking Ball Press later this year.

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