“They’re vintage,” she tells me, reading the tag. “Jessica has such an eye for design, especially antiques. At least that’s what I could tell from their house.” She hands it to me. “Look close at the pattern. There are miniature Edinburgh landmarks inside the glass, done up like frost.”
I peer at it and spot Edinburgh Castle in one, the cathedral in another, blending seamlessly inside the glass balls like a miniature, snow-covered world. It’s very beautiful and I think Jessica would think it’s absolutely brilliant. Donald would just be happy with whatever makes his wife happy.
“Done,” I say, fishing out some notes and handing it over to the vendor who takes it happily.
“Now on to Brigs,” she says, grasping the bag to her chest.
“He’s easy,” I tell her. “Highball glasses for his Scotch. He collects them.”
She raises her eyebrow. “That’s a little too easy. Let me guess, you’ve been giving him that gift for years now.”
I shrug. “We’re both pretty low maintenance in the gift department. And that’s a hint from me to you. Meaning, don’t get me anything.”
“Oh, I won’t,” she says, even though I know she will. Which reminds me, I’ve got to get her a gift. I’ve been stewing over it all week, and I still can’t come up with anything. There’s really nothing on the planet that could possibly express what she means to me.
“Brigs teaches film, right?” she asks as we get ourselves hot roasted chestnuts. “I mean, even though he teaches it, he’s obviously a film buff.”
I nod. “Aye,” I say, before inhaling the smell of the chestnuts. That always solidifies Christmas for me. Even when I was a young lad and didn’t have a proper Christmas, my birth mother always bought some for me every December. It’s one of the few good memories I have from growing up. In some ways, those rarities made it harder in the coming years.
“So,” she says as we walk by a stall where a caricature artist is presently sketching a squirming little girl. “We could get one of this guy’s prints.” She nods at the art lining the wall of the tent, some of random people, others celebrities, from Audrey Hepburn to Kanye West. “Or,” she goes on, “you have a picture of him on your phone, right? We could get a caricature of him drawn as whatever film dude he likes.”
“Film dude?” I repeat, biting my lip to keep from laughing.
She rolls her eyes, slapping my arm. “You know what I mean.”
I sigh, folding my arms across my chest and peering at the range of drawings. It would be utterly ridiculous to get Brigs something like this, but at the same time, I think he’s the type to appreciate it for just how ridiculous it is. Maybe Kayla is right. The same old thing does get boring after a while, and it’s always the thought that counts.
“Well, he’s always been a big Buster Keaton fan,” I tell her. “See if you can make that happen.” I bring out my phone, flipping to a photo of Brigs and me together. We’re both smiling, and he has his blindingly white, straight teeth on show. It’s going to be real easy for the artist to make fun of that.
She snatches the phone out of my hand, peers at it closely, and then waits until the artist is done drawing the little girl before she explains what we want.
The man shrugs, as if he draws Brigs as Buster Keaton every day, and we agree on a price before he starts working.
“You know what I think Brigs needs?” Kayla says to me as the man draws, working a lot quicker than I thought he would. “A dog. You should convince him to adopt one of your shelter dogs.”