“Who is it?” I yelled from my corner on the couch.
“Go away. You must have the wrong address.”
“No, I’m in the exact right place. Please come let me in. At least come open the door.”
“Fine,” I huffed walking over.
“That’s better, isn’t it?” Grace smiles soppily.
“Yeah, as I said before, you have the wrong address.”
“Kelly, you are Kelly. I know you.”
“I’ve literally never seen you before in my whole life.”
“Well then let me introduce myself. I’m Grace. I come bearing gifts.”
I stare. Is this some reality television show or something? I tilt my head to the side. “Um, well nice to meet you, but I don’t need any gifts.”
“Really, I don’t deserve anything. I just—well I—I shoplifted a few things earlier—actually that’s only the cherry on top. But you know what, right across the street over there—that beautiful house—there’s a lovely girl who lives there, the sweetest thing you’ll ever mee—“
“I bought this gift for you.”
“Can I come in?”
“How about you just leave it on the front porch. Is there a gift receipt by chance . . .?”
“Kelly, this gift isn’t some mass-produced, plastic-covered—no, there’s no gift receipt. It’s priceless. But it’s worthless on the front porch. You need to bring it inside and open it up.
“Okay, I understand—it’s just—it’s kind of a mess in here.”
“All the better.”
“If you insist. Come in then. Just watch out for that pile of clothes over there—oh, and the DVDs right there.”
Grace walked in. Her brightly colored clothes brought some new light to a room that frankly would have been better off hiding itself in darkness. She set the package in the center of the floor. The wrapping paper glimmered—silver. It actually looked like silver.
“Well,” Grace gave her soppy smile again. “I think it’s time for you to open it up!”
“I—I don’t think this is right. It doesn’t belong here. It doesn’t belong with me.”
Grace’s smile calmed into a less ecstatic but ever so peaceful look. “A gift is a future belonging.”
“No, but seriously. I’ve lied, cheated, stolen, hated, and—” The tears started to fall.
Grace put her hand on my shoulder briefly then reached down to squeeze my hand. “Just open the box. I promise it won’t let you down.”
Tears now pouring, I did as she said, ripping aside the silver paper to unveil the gift. As I flipped back the sides of the box, a new light seemed to beam in the room. I looked inward. “Is it real?”
“Absolutely.” Grace affirmed.
I reached out to touch it. It felt like hope and it smelled like freedom. “What is it?” I asked.