The morning was grey, light and soft as a newborn, and I languished awhile, watching the misty rain blow against the screens outside my windows, the doves splashing in puddles of water collecting on the eaves. There was nothing to do that day, and the rain provided the perfect excuse to loaf about the house. I made almond tea and sipped it on the divan, my legs tucked under an afghan of blue softness, channel-surfing with the sound off, letting the gentle rain provide a soundtrack to moving pictures of famous faces in exotic locales.
It was in this relaxed state that I noticed the box on the table. Amazon.com it announced passively. It seemed to tease me, sitting quietly in the background, knowing I'd notice it eventually, content to wait until my curiosity overcame me, and I padded over on bare feet to inspect the address label.
To MzOuiser, it invited. My lazy mind processed the presence of the box, it's address label, and the day and date. I have a birthday coming in a few days, I thought to myself. This must be a present for me!
It took some restraint to place my teacup delicately on the desk, but once I had done so, I abandoned all notions of propriety and ladylike manner. I proceeded to jab savagely at the box with a large pair of scissors, stabbing and slicing viciously, like a peasant woman disemboweling a rabbit for the stew. Excitement and wonder grew inside me. What it could be, and who had sent it?
My deductions were confirmed: Within the box lay two small rectangular packages wrapped in apple-green paper that reflected the light like a newly-plucked fruit. A satin ribbon of the same hue was bound about the packages, and the effect was overall quite lovely, evoking springtime and sweetness and the fresh smells of an orchard. I inhaled deeply, thinking of my mother's pies, and clasped the packages to my breast.
Upon removal of the pretty green dressings, the contents revealed themselves to me: First to meet the light was a DVD of "The Callas Conversations," recordings of the 1968 interviews of Maria Callas with Lord Harewood. It includes recordings of several arias by Massenet, Bellini and Puccini. Ms. Callas's sly smile graces the cover, her eyes heavily lined, her brows slightly raised with an unasked question. I squealed with deight, remembering a snippet I had once heard of these interviews on the radio, where Ms. Callas had sung O Mio Babbino Caro with such innocence and grace that I had wept softly in my cubicle at work. I thought of the lush recordings I was now about to hear from Manon and La Sonnambula, that, indeed, I could now hear whenever I so desired, and squealed again in childish glee.
The second package contained a DVD of Pride and Prejudice starring none other than Colin Firth, that lovely Englishman who romanced Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jone's Diary, playing a role that I remain convinced to this day is merely a modern interpretation of that scintillating Mr. Darcy in Ms. Austen's novel. I had been longing to see the real thing ever since. I deftly removed the shrink wrap and let my fingers glide over the image on the DVD, remembering the scenes in the book I had loved so well as a young girl, the dashing and dour Mr. Darcy brought to his emotional knees by love for a woman younger than himself yet wiser in the ways of goodness, and able to see through the snobbery which imprisoned him, and so many of that time and place. Ah, the betterment of man through the love of a smart woman. Ah, the fantasy of a rainy day and an excellent cup of almond tea.
I spent that evening listening to the lilt of English voices, laughing women and boasting men, and gazing upon the rosy cheeks and rakish curls of Mr. Firth, dreaming of wearing high-waisted gowns and elaborate up-dos while dancing with a man who feigns disdain while he suffers for love of me. My cat curled into the crook of my knee and purred, and as the rain stopped, the setting sun gently glowed on the moist horizon, and I drifted off to sleep with Mr. Darcy's words in my ear: "...how I admire and love you..."
With such darling friends, I am a rich woman indeed. Thank you dears.
I have received several other glorious gifts as well. Yesterday I received a T-Shirt from this website from Trip and Slam, who saw it on the internet and knew it was for me:
Fits like a glove!
I love it, thank you!
I had previously stated that this lovey sent me my first birthday present of 2005, but I realized recently that this was incorrect. My sweet G actually bought me a birthday present a week or so prior, at the opening day of the New York Renaissance Faire. When we go back to the Faire in a few weeks, I'll post a photo of me wearing it. Let's just say it's leather, it's custom-made, and it's something I never would have bought myself.
I have also received a beautiful E-card from this gentleman, with truly beautiful sentiments. Thank you dear, I played it over and over this afternoon!
Jess has arranged a birthday party for this Friday, which was supposed to be a joint party for me and this Charming Man, as we are Astro-Twins, sharing the exact same birthday, but alas, The Charmer can't make it, so I'll be happy to soak up all the birthday goodness myself. I'm looking forward to some yummy cuban food, some refreshing mojitos, and some awesome company. Let's send the summer out in style!
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a free evening and some DVDs to watch....