I knew, as soon as I saw it, that it was perfect. Long and silky, its pattern was perfect and the color couldn't have been better. I knew he'd love it.
And so I carried that tie around with me as I dug through sales racks and looked over the shoe selection. I left it with the attendant at the dressing room begrudgingly, worried she'd give it away or put it back on the rack. I handed it over to her hesitantly, and asked her to please make sure it didn't get put back. She assured me that it would not.
And it didn't. It was there, waiting for me, when I emerged, my arm draped with the three sweaters I intended to buy. I was excited about the clothes I was buying for myself, but I was more excited about the tie laying on top of my clothes. I couldn't wait to give it to Billy.
But when I got home, the lights were off and Billy was asleep, his body curled into a question mark on his side of the bed. So I hung the tie from his tie rack, front and center, and undressed quietly, slipping out of my clothes in the dark. I slid into bed beside him, kissed the skin on his neck, exposed between the blanket and his curly hair, and went to sleep, anxious for the morning.
This morning, when his alarm went off, Billy slipped out of bed without me noticing. He was out of the shower before I realized he was no longer in bed with me. He kissed my forehead and pulled the blanket up over my head, and went to turn on the light. Disoriented, I dug my way out of the comforter, one eye still closed to the light.
"Good morning, baby," I whispered.
"What are you doing up?" he said, making his way to me. "Go back to sleep," he said sweetly, kissing me again.
"Did you see your tie?" I couldn't sleep, knowing I'd yet to give him his gift.
"I got you something last night," I teased, smiling beneath the blankets. "It's on your tie rack."
He turned and looked at it. I heard his sharp intake of breath. "Baaaabe," he whispered, his voice quiet with appreciation. "It's perrrrfect."
"Look at who made it."
He turned the tie around to see the brand. He gasped.
"It's Ted Baker," I told him, even though it was clear that he'd seen it. Ted Baker is his favorite tie designer. Ted Baker is to me what Manolo Blahnik is to you, he'd told me before.
He came over and kissed me. "I have to wear it today," he said.
I smiled with the delight of a child who has just brought home a report card filled with As. It made me so happy to see him satisfied with my gift, happier still that he wore it immediately. His love of what I'd picked for him made my day.