Dec. 25, 2012 Merry Christmas

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My Precious Jane,

You light me up with your smile

Your fiery spirit brings new meaning to life

Just being with you gives me hope

(Truly) I would not wish any companion in the world but you

(the first three lines plus Truly – me; the fourth line – Shakespeare)

This crazy heartfelt (and slightly funny) card, sitting atop a Christmas present, waited for me on my seat on the airplane.

This morning, the Reid family had an out-of-control, over-the-top, Christmas at my brother’s house.  The twins got presents from EVERY member of the Reid clan.  Not only did my aunts and uncles indulge these almost 9 month olds, each one of my cousins came bearing gifts.  The most hysterical part about all these gifts – the twins had no interest in any of them except for the nesting boxes that their favorite aunt, yours truly, bought for them.  Nick and I stacked them up, James and Elizabeth knocked them down, and then the cackles ensued.  The entire family was mesmerized with their laugh.  I had to admit, there was something magical about watching little bodies practically fall back in glee.  It made me feel warm and fuzzy as well.

After the fastest clean-up known to man and a chauffeur-driven ride to the airport, Mom, Dad, Uncle Henry, Jake, Emily and the twins were ensconced in first class, Nick and I sat in business class, Doug and Laney sat in coach.  Nick and I would have sat right next to Doug and Laney if it hadn’t been for all the miles I’d accrued flying back and forth from the New York office to the LA one.  Lucky Nick – this upgrade was my Christmas present to him.

“How’d you get a Christmas present waiting for you on board the plane?  After 9/11, I’m surprised anyone allowed an unsupervised package to just sit there.”

“Shut up, Nick.”  I (literally) cried.  In this beautifully packaged box was a framed pencil sketch of me laughing away – not much differently than my baby niece and nephew.  Shockingly, it was signed Max Davis with Whenever I think of you, this is the beauty I see written above his signature.  I looked so carefree and beautiful.  I didn’t know Max could be this romantic, and I had no idea he could draw.

“Emily,” I worked my way up to first class before they made us all buckle up.  “Did you know about this?”  I held out the drawing.

“Wow!  Did Max draw this?  I didn’t know he could draw.”

FINALLY!  Something about Max my sister didn’t know.  Though, I had no idea, till now, as well.

“This is gorgeous, Jane.  But then again, you are gorgeous so it wasn’t a difficult draw.”  My sister was always so sweet.

“Did Max tell you about this gift?”

“Kind of.  He stopped by the house early in the morning to drop off a gift for the babies and he asked me to put this on your seat on the plane.  Pretty romantic, huh?  I didn’t know Max had it in him.  He never ever did anything this sweet for me.”

I was feeling mighty good right now!

“I’m sure you can see how much he adores you, Jane.  I hope you’ll go a little easier on him.”  That felt like a compliment and a slap on the wrist at the same time.  “Has he told you about his family, yet?”

I shook my head no.

“He’ll tell you, soon, I’m sure.”  Emily patted my hand.  Once again, she knew something about Max that I didn’t know.  Aargh!

“Sit down Jane, and stop bothering us.  Emi’s had a long morning already.  Let her sleep while the twins are sleeping.”  My brother could be so annoyingly protective of his wife.  Maybe it was only annoying because I didn’t have that same kind of protector in my life.

“We’ll talk more, later?” she smiled.

“Sure.”  I returned her smile.  “Thank you for the theater tickets, Emily.  Max and I will enjoy them.”

“What did you get them theater tickets for?  I already spent a fortune on their plane tickets,” said my cheapo brother who put us in coach.  Bratty…I know.  But that was the kind of relationship my older brother and I had.

“That was your present to them.  I wanted to do something for my one sister and one ex-boyfriend.”  Her impish smile surfaced.

“Emi…!  I hate it when you mention Max as your ex.  It bugs me enough to not give you part 2 of your Christmas gift.”

“There’s more than this trip to New York?  Jake…this is extravagant enough.  I don’t want anything else.”

“There’s a lot more, Love.  Wait till we get to New York.”

This was my cue to leave.  They were getting those lovey-dovey eyes that made me want to throw up my breakfast.  I would wager my first-born, if anyone thought there was another couple on earth who loved each other more than my brother and his wife.

Floored!

Astounded!

Close to faint!

That was how my sister-in-law looked when she saw the apartment Jake bought for their family on the upper west side.  Sparsely furnished by Aunt Babs, who had been in town for her sister’s birthday, this spacious 4-bedroom apartment overlooked Central Park and was a short walking distance to the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.  Jake looked impossibly smug with himself when he saw how delighted the love of his life was with their new living arrangement.

After helping the happy family settle into their new dig, Nick and I went to our rinky-dink apartment in Soho and unpacked.

“Hello?”  I answered a call from an unknown number.

“Merry Christmas, Jane.”

“Max…”  I let his name linger on my tongue for a bit because right now, I was seriously (almost) in love with him.

“Flight was all you expected it to be?”

“It was more than I expected it to be.  Thank you for the phenomenal gift.  I can’t believe you drew that picture of me.  When did you learn to draw?”

“I’ve always liked art, but didn’t really try to sketch till I got into that accident after Em and I broke up.  I did it out of sheer boredom and discovered a new talent.”

“When did you draw that picture of me?”

“When you left me for New York.  I missed you a lot and none of the pictures I had of you captured the beauty that was in my head.  So, I decided to draw a picture of my own and that was the result.  I used to look at it whenever I wanted to talk to you.”

“You missed me?”  I seriously wanted to cry, again – and I’m not the crying-type.

“Of course I missed you, Jane.  Why would you think I didn’t?  How could I not?”

“Why didn’t you ever call me when I was in New York?”  I would’ve transferred back to LA, immediately.

“You said you wanted space and that you needed time to think.  So, I honored your wish till a few weeks ago when your brother told me you’d moved back into town.”

There was a bit of a pause to our conversation.

“Jane…”

“Yeah?”

“I want you to know that I’ll frustrate you many times over.  I’m neither eloquent nor romantic.  You, having lived with a brother who seems to have cornered that market, will be disappointed with my feeble attempts.  But, I want us to work.  I love your spitfire personality, I love your tender heart, and I love all that is you.  I can’t promise you anything just yet, but my hope is that you, too, would not wish any companion in the world…but me.”

A poem, a sketch, a heartfelt confession…this was the best Christmas of my life!

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