The Perfect Gift, Part Two

Click here for Part One.

Part two:

By Christmas, Q and I were inseparable.

We became boyfriends pretty much instantly. Maybe it’s crazy to commit to monogamy that early, but so what? I was spending every single night at his apartment. The sex was great. And—best of all—when I was with him, I didn’t think about The Ex Fiancé.

The week before Christmas, I saw a GIANT sock monkey at Duane Reade, but decided not to get it because it was $40. That night, while with Q (surprise!), I told him how much I regretted not getting it.

I had a sock monkey when I was an infant. It had little pom-pom “mittens,” and I chewed one off, choking on it and almost dying. My babysitter had CPR training and saved my life—my mother told me that story all the time.

My mother. This would be the first Christmas that I wouldn’t see her—or my father, or any of my family. I’d just been through my first Thanksgiving alone. I was homesick. Dammit, I missed my mommy. I thought the sock monkey might bring me a sense of nostalgia.

“Then we have to go get it,” Q insisted, already putting on his coat. “Which Duane Reade did you find it in?”

We went into the city from his Williamsburg apartment, on a mission. To my dismay, it was already sold.

“Don’t worry,” Q smiled. “We’ll find him.”

We went to at least 10 Duane Reades that night, from Soho to Chelsea to Hell’s Kitchen and back to Williamsburg. I admitted defeat.

A week later, underneath the Christmas tree we purchased and decorated together, I discovered a giant sock monkey, a metallic bow around his neck. Q had gone out again, searching by himself, and found it for me.

It was the perfect gift—not the sock monkey, but a boyfriend who would go to such lengths for me.

We got to New Year’s Eve happy as could be, and I got my New Year’s kiss at midnight. No one ever treated me as well as Q did. No one ever made me feel as secure as Q did. We were happy. I was happy.

Early February, while shopping for black leather boots at Beacon’s Closet, my phone buzzed in the pocket of my skinny Michael Kors jeans. It was The Ex Fiancé. I hadn’t spoken to him since Thanksgiving. The text said, simply, “Hey.”

I told Q I needed to go home and focus on writing, that I was behind working on my novel. It was the first night since dating Q that I slept alone. I spent the night staring at my phone, wondering what to do. My cat, Maya, stared uneasily at me from the foot of my mattress.

Around 1 a.m., I picked up my phone. “Hey,” I wrote back.

And I waited.

To be continued…

Ian-Michael Bergeron

Iowa-born writer Ian-Michael Bergeron has written his weekly column in Get Out! Magazine since 2015, as well as editorials and interviews. He lives in New York City in a one-bedroom with two cats, Alexander and Thomas, and spends most of his income on shoes.

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