A Gift

PROMPT: bring in a gift that was given to you.  Write about the gift not only from the perspective of what it is… but also what it is not.   This piece was written that night (in the Creative Writing Workshop) and is such a beautiful tribute to friendship:

Red is Best (after Kathy Stinson) – by Evelyn Barsby

It is a deep red translucent cube with metallic swirls that floats about on stilts, above the rest of the world. It is a most precious treasure.

This was not a thoughtless gift. You know me so well. This is my favourite colour after all. “When I see beautiful reds, it reminds me of you”. Red is Best, like the children’s story I had read to my daughter at bedtime. It is a symbol of our closeness. It is meant to be for trinkets, but I keep nothing inside as it reminds me of our great friendship. That is the real treasure.

I see it every day on my shelf. It holds all the great times we shared inside. It is a memory treasure box. Open it and out pops a skate on the Rideau Canal with us taking turns wearing that crazy fur hat. Open it again and we’re having coffee at the Starbucks around the corner. So many memories….. sad ones too, like when you moved away and when you told me about your childhood.

All our recollections live in this beautiful red box with swirly designs. Forever spirals because we’ll always be friends. Remember when you chased me with that little brown earthworm? That too is inside, along with all the laughter that followed. It cannot hold all your tears. Or can it? How about mine? Perhaps it is as endless as the ocean or at the very least it is as deep as a magic hat. It can hold all the Wonderful and the Sad and all the In between. It is red because Red is Best.
It is not a thoughtless gift. It is a memory holder. It is red because it is the colour of the heart – warm and full of energy – cocooning our friendship. It is on display so I can see it every day and be reminded of all that we have shared throughout the years. Let’s jump inside and see what we can find…. our families, our husbands  and all our friends;  our beach days in California – running into the waves, the eucalyptus tree and lying like leopards on its branches; our walks through the Glebe and through the streets of Toronto. Remember the pasta you made for us? We wanted more. More, but we were on university rations…..

My treasure box doesn’t run out of memories. It is vast and has endless room for all our future laughs and cries, triumphs and sorrows.

It is red, because Red is Best.

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