Ever have a present for someone but decide to keep it just for yourself instead? Not like a store-bought prize, but a real genuine gift with meaning?
So tonight a friend texted me to say she was cleaning out her old email and found a couple emails I sent to her several years ago containing quotes from a book. This was commonplace, back then, sending her random quotes here and there I liked… as well as certain songs. Not just any songs, but ones that were special enough to share, ones that speak to you or say something you wish you could say (not necessarily to that person, but generally).
Some of you may or may not have heard me say or have seen me write that I can be selfish with certain things… like quotes, or songs or books. Long story short, I can get so attached to words that I’m afraid to share them, because you might not have the same reaction I did initially, or feel the same way I do, or simply might not be important enough to have whatever it is shared with you casually (no offense). It’s to that end that I finally told my aforementioned friend about the present I was going to give her, but kept for myself.
Due to a change of scenery (new job for me) and a few other life stuffs (new baby for her) I knew I wouldn’t be seeing this friend nearly as often except for the occasional here and there. Knowing we both shared a fondness for good quotes and lines from songs and books and movies, I bought a 4×6 inch sketch book with a ton of pages and just started filling it with quotes that I liked and quotes that she liked and lyrics from songs and lines from movies and novels and maybe a poem or two. Truth be told, it took several months to fill the book, it had a LOT of pages. The intention all along was to fill it up and then give it to her.
The first time we met in person for dinner after I started the little book, I didn’t bring it along, or even bring it up in conversation because it wasn’t fully done yet and I had added a few conditions to giving the book to her and mostly I kind of chickened out as I was having second-thoughts about giving it up. Not being done was easy enough to convince myself of, but the others were a bit more far-fetched.
The conditions, semi-edited:
1. She would have to read some of the quotes to me (I liked it when she read stuff aloud)
2. She’d have to let me borrow it from time to time (to make sure it was ok and was being treated well-enough)
3. She’d have to promise to never get rid of it (like never ever), unless;
4. She decided she didn’t want it anymore for whatever reason, she would promise to send/ship it back to me (I’d pay for shipping, naturally)
So yeah, these and maybe another one or two unmentioned conditions would be attached to this gift giving…
But I think the biggest thing is that I put in a lot of work on this, enough to where I didn’t want to duplicate it for myself, and I kinda just wanted to keep it as a reminder to myself of our friendship.
To be fair, a couple years-ish have passed and we haven’t met up, but I’ve always kept this book either on my nightstand or my computer desk because sometimes you just need a few words to make the world right again… not all the time, but on occasion… but even in times I don’t necessarily need a few words, I’ll catch that little black book out of the corner of my eye and it makes me think of my friend… and it makes me smile a bit on the inside.
That’s really why I’m keeping it, I like those words that are in it and I like that little reminder of why I made the book in the first place. Maybe not all of those words would mean as much to her. Maybe she wouldn’t smile on the inside like I do when I see the book. Maybe she would like the words and smile bigger than I do. “Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we’re quoting,” (John Green) and maybe I don’t want to find out. Maybe…
At this point, I’ve had this book for a two and a half years or so and I finally just tonight told her about it. I also told her I was going to keep it, haha. But I did tell her I would bring it the next time we met up (assuming I don’t forget which is a likely possibility) and took some pictures of a few of the pages and sent them to her as a lil bit of a teaser.
It’s weird how sometimes a few words from a song or a novel or a movie can be so powerful and/or meaningful in certain situations. It’s also weird how a small sketch book collection of these words can attach itself to you in such a way that you can’t bear to give them to someone else, or at least not for keeps.