You Look Like a Million Bucks

In November my sister said to me, “Let’s go to South Coast Plaza to see the Christmas decorations.”

“Sure,” I said. “I’m a sucker for twinkle lights.”

Because of my sister’s rheumatoid arthritis, the walk from the car was painfully slow. Yet her step quickened when we entered the mall, and I soon discovered that she had something other than Christmas decorations in mind.

“I want to go a jewelry store,” she announced.

“Okay,” I said. “But you know the jewelry stores here are pretty high end.”

“Oh, I don’t want to buy anything,” she said. “I just like to look.”

That’s how we ended up at the renowned jeweler, Harry Winston. Entering the store, a hulking, stone-faced guard in a black uniform, locked eyes on us. I felt intimidated, like my every move was being watched, which of course, it was, but this didn’t bother my sister. She walked in confidently, went right up to a saleswoman, and said, “I’d like to see the most-expensive piece of jewelry in the store.”

I did not see that coming. That cringe-worthy line made my face turn a brilliant shade of embarrassment pink.

Without blinking, the stylish saleswoman, whose badge said she was a Sales Executive—replied, “Certainly. That would be our yellow diamond ring.”

She led us to a locked display case and brought out the ring. Every facet of the stone glistened under the bright store lights. “This stone is a cushion cut yellow fancy intense diamond.”

What language was she speaking?

“It weighs 10.28 carats, is surrounded by white diamonds, and is priced at nine-hundred and ninety thousand dollars.”

At least I think that’s what she said. The size of the stone dazzled me and my brain went a little mushy.

I felt surreal, like I’d been dropped into a Fellini film. We were all adults, and yet we all knew we were playing make-believe. My sister pretending she had the net worth to afford a million-dollar diamond and the sales executive, pretending my sister was her most important client.

“May I try it on?” my sister asked.

In a velvety voice the sales exec said, “Of course,” and directed us to sit.

From the moment my sister slipped on that diamond, a satisfied smile spread across her face.

“This ring was made for your hand,” the sales exec said. “I do not have the style to carry off such a stone, but you do.”

Tilting her hand from side to side, throwing sparks of light in all directions, my sister said, “If I win the lottery, this will be the first thing I buy.”

The woman handed my sister her gold-embossed card. “In case you do win, keep me in mind.”

As we left Harry Winston, maybe I imagined it, but my sister appeared taller and she seemed to walk a little easier. Her disease had retreated into the background and she floated on an endorphin cloud of make-believe happiness. I loved seeing her like that, until she said, “That was fun. Should we go to Tiffany’s next?”

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I was good all year. I recycled, fed stray cats, gave money to homeless people, even the scary guy with the sign that says, “Victim of Reality.” So, why, why did Santa give me a fruitcake?

Ah, fruitcake. The world’s most unwanted Christmas gift, even worse than the Chia Pet, but a close runner up to the Salad Shooter.

Anyway, back to the “F” word. Fruitcake. What do I do with it? Maybe I could try the disposal option on my Christmas card. It shows an ice fisherman, but instead a dropping his line down the hole in the ice, he’s dropping fruitcakes. The whole town is lined up, waiting their turn to offload.

And I guess I could always re-gif it—by the way, that term that was invented for the sole purpose of making fruitcakes disappear. Have you heard the theory that there has only been one fruitcake in all of history and it just continues to be re-gifted? It’s true; it was baked in 1620. Continue reading “The Gift That Keeps On Giving”