What Lee had left on the table in a friendship he asked himself in good time, time after time, if time for the Big Reveal had arrived in time.
He contemplated the situation.
When first he entered Bai’s flat, Lee had counted two when he wanted to count only one but he had counted on two, just not the two he counted.
Then the number became three including the two he anticipated and the subset of one he wanted, too.
Aussi. You see?
Was he down for the count?
What in the Christmas presents did he want Bai to open when no one else was present?
Would he take the safe route as he had in times past or dare branch off as he had a time or two before?
Which gift would she appreciate most?
The houndstooth fabric his wife had sent him to buy for Bai? The fabric fusion? The houndstooth ribbon?
Or the gifts he’d bought himself at the railroad station antique shop?
Did he pick out a piece of jewelery?
A bracelet? A bauble? Another tennis bracelet to be lost?
What if he asked for a fashion show for one?
Would the count count then?
And what would he asked to be modeled if not a bauble, bangle or bead?
Certainly not by the Bede?
But what about the Bangles?
Not the Beatles?
Or beetles with barbs, bangs or bobs?
How about safe but daring at the same time?
Accessory or Successory?
If you could dare to wear only one thing, what would it be?
Your heart on your sleeve?
A question mark pattern on your supervillain tights?
A groove in an LP?
“Hey, you’ve got to open your Christmas presents. Close your eyes and hold out your hands.”
As Lee removed the fabric from plastic shopping bags, he left a door in the future open.
In fact, he created a hallway of doorways leading to passageways.
[Time passages. Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight…]
As Bai looked at the fabric, he placed in their shared thoughts a moment in the future, a skip ahead in an advent calendar, a calendrous adventure.
Lee saved the all-but-personal present for last.
Bai set down the fabric and accepted the gift bag, untying the simple bow.
She reached down into the bag and removed a shiny sheet of tissue.
She pulled out a scarf.
She announced to her flatmate and assistant. “Just what every girl needs — another scarf!”
Tied strips of tie-dyed T-shirt material formed a latticework flowing from Bai’s hand.
“There’s another gift inside!”
Bai removed a tissue-wrapped present.
Lee held his breath. It was the first of many gifts, a seed planted in the present, a present for the future.
A pink cashmere scarf.
“It matches my skirt!”
Exactly. A model’s model model.
Was it time for Alaur’s massage?
To be continued…