our first Christmas together, he bought me the hat.

i never wanted diamonds. or perfume, or whatever was supposed to make me feel cherished.

those proper things always made me feel inept, party to an exchange that was somehow utterly unrelated to any of the things i valued about myself.

but a patchwork velvet top hat that called up Dolly Parton songs and Alice in Wonderland?

i think i smiled at him with tears in my eyes, that Christmas morning.

i turn 39 today. he got me the leather satchel he told me he’d gotten me last year but then, erm, forgot to order. it is beautiful. it looks like a refugee from 1974. i am told it will be here Friday. of THIS year.

he also got me a steamer thingie so that we can give up any pretense of me ever picking up an iron again in this life. a partner who can embrace one’s peculiarities, even the prosaic ones, is a keeper.

then he took my picture.