The gift is sitting on your dining room table again. It’s still wrapped, just as you wrapped it. You check the windows, the door. There’s no sign of anyone having entered in the night.
“Happy Late Christmas,” you say to her when you see her at the bar after work. “I could’ve sworn I already gave this to you, but I guess it slipped my mind.”
You watch her unwrap it to reveal the Christopher Nolan boxset you bought for her, the one she unwrapped two nights before Christmas at the potluck, then again two nights after Christmas, then again the night after that, and again the night after that. You swear it. You fucking swear you saw this happen over and over again.
“Oh wow!” she says, exactly as you remember it. “Nolan! You know I love Nolan!”
The room is spinning. This moment is an echo. You search her eyes for some hint that she knows it, that she’s responsible for it. You grip the edge of the table to keep from grabbing her by the collar of her blouse and demanding that she tell you what she’s up to, why she’s doing this to you.
“If you don’t like it you can just regift it if you want,” you offer, your voice sounding louder than you intended.
“Oh I never regift,” she says.
You mutter an excuse me before leaping from the booth to run to the bathroom to vomit.
Tonight you won’t sleep. You’ll sit at the dining room table, the lights on, your eyes never moving from the spot on the table where it’s appeared over and over again. You need to stop the reset. You need the gift to remain in her possession. She has to have a key to your apartment, and perhaps a camera to figure out when you’re in the shower or on the toilet, occupied long enough for her to sneak in and give the gift back to you. You’ve taken up smoking again, you’re drinking coffee, anything to keep you awake and present at that dining room table. She’s going to keep her gift tonight.
The waiting is the hardest. You know that no matter how vigilant you are, that wrapped gift is going to be on your table by morning. No explanation, no merciful clue as to what’s happening to you. The only thing between now and then is the waiting.
Happy Degift Day!