by Jacquelin Botello
“So how much do we have?”
“Well, let’s see, twenty five … plus seven… plus seventy six cents. How much is that?”
“Thirty two dollars and seventy six cents. Do you think it would be enough?"
“Hopefully, if not, we’re going to be the worst ‘present getters’ in the history of time.”
We had been doing errands for everyone in the neighborhood in order to raise money. It was our parent’s anniversary in exactly two days and we needed to buy a new present pronto. Of course, just like all of our past plans, this one did not turn out so great either. Turns out, my brother and I decided to tell everyone that we were going to volunteer at the school art show. Actually, we were planning on calling in sick and going shopping for our parent’s present instead.
Last time I was at the mall with mom, she literally fell in love with these beautiful handmade bed sheets. There was only a few left and they were going to be on sale this Saturday from six a.m. until noon.
“All right. I’ve set our alarms to five a.m. Did you set your alarm yet Mia?"
“I’m working on it.” As I was setting the alarms I got the money and put it on top of my desk. Forgetting the money would be tragic.
“Robbie! You got all your stuff ready yet?”
“Almost there. But… if I don’t wake up in time, are you going without me?”
“Oh, Rob, you better wake up in time! Believe me, if you don’t wake up in time… I’ll shower you with cold water!”
Robbie didn’t know what to say. Then I laughed. “I’m just kidding! I would never do that. But be sure to get up. We need to be there before they open. That way, we can assure that we get the bed sheets!”
“You’re right. See you tomorrow sis!”
To be honest, I could not sleep that night. I was thinking about everything. Every single scenario ran through my mind. Robbie and I not getting there in time, Robbie and I not showing up to the art show. Although, the part that had me worried the most is lying about where we were going to be. I was not the kind of person who liked lying nor did I lie often. This was so unlike me, but it was for the right cause! Right?
That morning, our alarms awakened us at exactly five a.m. Robbie and I rushed out of the house. The sun had not yet risen and the eerie feeling of the darkened sky made me question our decision, but there was no turning back. We took a bus and I was actually surprised to see so many people. But I must tell you, I was even more surprised when about two thirds of the people riding the bus were getting down at the mall as well. It was packed. There were people in every single corner of the mall. The lines were unorganized and every single minute that passed was just simply chaotic.
“Robbie what time is it?”
“It’s probably tomorrow!” As I laughed at his usual out of place joke, he reached into his pocket.
“Oh no!” he said “My phone! I forgot it! Good thing you have yours!”
I gave him a blank stare. I couldn’t believe it. We had both forgotten our phones. Little did we know that this simple fact would turn out to be quite problematic.
After a few hours of waiting we finally got to the store. There was a vast ocean of people which made it difficult to see. We were never very lucky and today was not the exception. Even though we literally juggled our way to the ‘bath and bedroom’ section there were no more of those bed sheets my mother loved so much left.
“What now!? I mean, what else could we possible give them?"
“Calm down Robbie!” I said “We can always make a present ourselves?”
“You’re kidding, right? Like whenever we were seven and we attempted to make a ‘super delicious’ strawberry shortcake for their anniversary?” He gave me a funny look “Remember how that turned out?”
“We could always attempt it; after all, I am two and a half minutes older than you! That makes me the oldest!”
Getting out of the store was not a very pleasant experience. It was crowded and extremely uncomfortable and then came the icing on the cake. As we walked out the door, the alarm rang. A very tall security officer said “Would you please come with me?” I had no choice. I told Robbie to try to find a phone and contact our parents.
It turns out that a bracelet had gotten caught on the back of my shirt and that was the reason that the alarm went off. But even though I was practically off the hook, a parent or guardian had to come pick me up. Suddenly, Robbie walked in the door and he did not seem to be too happy.
“How do I start?” Robbie sat down beside me.
“While I was calling dad something came to me... Remember the art show!?”
“Oh no! We forgot to call!”
“Exactly. They were expecting us to go and since we didn’t go they called mom and dad. Mom and dad kept calling our phone and since we did not answer, they actually contacted the police.”
“The police!? But… We’re fine! I mean… What are we going to say to them?”
“Well, they’re on their way… And we still don’t have a present.”
I felt sick. What in the world was I going to say to my parents? It is not like me to lie and the only time that I did lie, it went all wrong. As we waited in the mall security police station the minutes actually felt like months. I truly cannot believe that everything turned out like this. It was for a good cause! Just a simple lie! It was never meant to hurt anyone or cause so much distress.
“Any explanations?” I looked up. It was our parents and they did not have a very joyful expression in their face. I opened my mouth and tried to talk but nothing came out.
“We were just trying to buy you guys a present.” said Robbie “We didn’t mean for this to happen…”
Both of our parents turned towards me. They were expecting me to explain what was happening. I had no words. My thoughts were jumbled up and everything that had happened seemed like a blur.
“Mom… Dad… I did not mean this… I only lied to get you guys a present. I know that I shouldn’t use that as an excuse. But I have learned my lesson; I am never lying ever again, not even for an anniversary present!”
“Good!” said dad “Lying never leads to good things.”
“On the bright side, I did manage to find a present!” While my parents were on their way to pick us up, I asked the police security guards for permission to go find a present for my parents.
“Here you go! Happy anniversary!”
“What?” said Robbie “Is that…?”
“Yes, strawberry shortcake!”