Gifts

"Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind"

Hamlet, William Shakespeare

I remember the first gift he ever gave me, it was topaz he found in the mines. The first thing I had ever given him had been in the middle of the previous season, it was a raspberry cocktail I had made myself in an aging pot.

Of course, at that point it had only been my first spring on the farm, and I was mostly scavenging to make ends meet, sacrificing some pocket change to give him something. When he gave me that warm hued gem, though I felt as guilty as I was shocked.

He told me not to worry about it, he was a expert at digging around old mines, and I was just getting the ropes of farming, besides, the drinks I was giving him were stronger than anything the bar sold. The topaz was a thank you gift for that.

A season after that, on a crisp autumn morning, I opened the door to find him standing there again, flustered this time. He shoved a diamond in to my palms, mumbling something about how they're used in engagement rings where he was from. I must have been wide-eyed, since he mentioned something about getting ahead of himself before running off.

It's been over a year, and though he's moved in with me, there's been no talk of marriage since that day.

However, since then, my ivory aging pot is stained in various colors from the drinks I make more him, and the smell of curry won't come out of my oven from all the curry bread I bake for him. Even so, he's always off in the mines, or at the bar without me, or staring out the window.

He gives me gems or jewelry often, even though he knows I can't really wear it, with all the farming and animal handling I do. I keep telling myself it's the thought that counts, but I feel like that thought is 'I'm sorry for not being around'.

I can't defend myself much. As the snow is covering the ground outside, here I am cooking up buckwheat noodles and curry sauce to draw him away from the window, out of the side room.

He's a traveler, a wanderer at heart, I know, but I love him, and don't want him to leave, but he knows I've seen the brochures for places he'll never take me, and gave me a third diamond pendant necklace, but has yet to give me one of those rings he mentioned seasons ago. The one I've been waiting for.

The timer on the oven dings, and I call out to him. When he comes in to the room, his smile is warm, but his eyes are not. He hands me a present, a small box. I feel my heartbeat faster, until it's open, sapphire earrings.

He takes his food in to the other room.

I hate curry as much as I love him.


A/N: A little prologue for my first prompt in the 12 Days of Christmas. Sorry it's short, they get longer from here.