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we were not-quite-fully-engaged one christmas and i was visiting north and his family. every time i approached a room, they would leave! all of them! mostly i didn’t care.

N was busy a lot, and it seemed like no one would talk to me. they were constantly talking to each other. i chalked it up to not getting family dynamics and began to fear that he was done with me.

christmas eve they do church. we never did. it was foreign to me. i said i wouldn’t go because i felt ignored over and over. while i stood outside breathing in the southern air, fedex drove up.

‘will you sign?’

i signed. north came running out, saw the package and snatched it from me.

he disappeared.

i was FURIOUS. we fought again, when he misheard something i said.

i cried myself to sleep.

christmas morning a miaow woke me up. the tiniest black kitten i’d ever seen was climbing into bed with me. her collar was a red ribbon with a ring on it. it had inlaid petrified wood (that was the package).

and he’d made a cedar knot jewelry holder too. so everyone had been running off, there was a kitten to admire. and a ring to admire.

i had been so sure he was walking out on me, that i had picked a fight with him. i had no understanding that love would wake up and still give an amazing present, even if we’d fought the night before.

that was when i began to understand that maybe things were different. maybe, maybe, love wasn’t what i’d grown up with.