[The auction for this object, with story by Jim Shepard, has ended. Original price: donated. Final price: $15.50. Significant Objects will donate the proceeds from this auction to Girls Write Now. This object was part of a collection curated for Significant Objects by Paola Antonelli; the story was co-published on Core77.com.]
When I was little I’d ask my mother what I was getting for my birthday. I’d ask like the morning of my birthday. It always pissed her off because my birthday was December 27th.
“Look under that tree,” she’d tell me. “You want to know what you’re getting for your birthday? Go look under that Christmas tree.”
When I got older I stopped asking. Then this last December when I’d been home a year she said “I got you something for your birthday.”
“I’m still not getting a job,” I said.
“Why are you so miserable to me?” she asked.
“So what is it?” I asked her a little while later. She went into her room and came back with a little package wrapped in candy cane paper. I tore off the wrapping and I’m standing there with a little box of Clone Wars collectible cards in my hand.
“You always liked Star Waters,” she said. One time in school a teacher asked what my mother’s first language was and I told him she didn’t have one.
“I’m thirty-three years old,” I told her.
“That means you can’t like cards?” she said. “That means you can’t enjoy anything any more?”
Everybody on the front of the box had a weapon. “That was nice of you to get me the cards,” I told her.
“You can’t be grateful for one thing?” she wanted to know.
“That was nice of you to get me the cards,” I told her. Later on I wrote the same thing down, and stuck it on the refrigerator.