The Ink Well Prompt
Prompt Word: Foil
Earlier in the Day:
“Check this out,” Kristin walked over to the store shelf and picked up the oddly shaped wine decanter. She flipped it over to inspect the price tag, then slowly placed it back on the shelf.
I didn’t say a word as she was just thinking out loud. I walked slowly along the merchandise barrels, distracted by champagne vacuum stoppers, stainless steel pourers, and other elegant, yet simple, beverage accessories.
“Oh, I’ve been wanting one of these.” She walked past the table of etched glass tumblers toward the barrel of stainless steel foil cutters. She picked one up to examine the price. “Thirty-four ninety-nine.” She then noticed a sign. “Oh, buy one, get one half off,” she said to herself, contemplating the price and glancing around the store.
I rolled my eyes, but was careful to not let her see. We weren’t shopping for her. “What is it?” I finally asked.
“It’s a foil cutter. It cuts off just the top part of the foil on the bottle.” She spoke in a lecturing tone and made a circular motion with her finger.
I hesitated, then finally said “I mean, I think she already has one of those corkscrew things with one of those on there, right?”
She shook her head and pursed her lips, then glanced at me. “No, she doesn’t.”
“I don’t think she’s going to use that much, so I’d rather not spend the money.” I tried to say it delicately.
“It’s a nice gift and… they’re buy one, get one. So, I figured I could get one for myself.”
“We’re shopping for Margaret, though.” I said apprehensively. I was starting to become irritated.
“It’s a nice gift,” she repeated, with a slight attitude. I saw her roll her eyes as she dismissively walked away from me.
“I was thinking we could do one of those chilling buckets that you put the ice in, and then get her a nice chilled wine,” I suggested.
“It’s almost Fall,” she said. I hated when she was right. I knew I was up against someone who wasn’t going to back down. I became exasperated when she decided to get the store clerk involved.
“Hi, yea, um… my friend and I are trying to decide on a gift for our friend. Do you think this foil cutter would be a good gift?” He of course nodded his head, while glancing back and forth between the two of us “What do you think would be a better gift: this or an ice bucket?” The clerk kept glancing back and forth at us, realizing what he’d gotten involved in. He was going to have to choose a side.
He hesitated. “I mean, I think it depends on what the person likes and…” He gestured toward the ice buckets, implying that they’re more of a Summer thing “it is almost Fall.” He looked at both of us, then looked around the store. He really wanted to get out of the conversation.
“Thanks,” I accepted his generic response, feeling sorry for him. I turned to Kristin, now starting to show my frustration,“Okay we’ve been at the mall for a few hours now. Let’s just do separate gifts. You get her what you want and I’ll get her something else.”
“Okay.” She shrugged and made a face as though I was overreacting; like I’d been the one making a huge deal out of it the whole time. “She will like my gift better,” she said in a jokingly competitive way. Except I could tell she wasn't joking.
Normally I’d give a short laugh at this gibe, but decided to let her see my straight face as my patience was wearing thin. I walked across the store, past the displays of cutting boards, knives, spices and olive oil. I pretended to be interested in what was around me, but I was really inside my head. I knew that this wasn’t about the foil cutter. Nothing could cut between the tension I felt toward Kristin today. I had heard the things she said about me, but swore not to bring it up to her. My resentment was leaking out through petty disagreements.
I glanced around the shelves of dinnerware sets and one plate caught my eye. I was drawn back into my surroundings by the Chinese script on a plate that was part of an elaborate Lunar dinnerware set. He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. The Sun Tzu quote played in my head. But then, I started to have my doubts about letting Kristin have her way with the foil cutter. To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. That’s more like it, I thought.
Later that day:
Numerous girls gathered around the long wooden table, as Margaret pulled tissue paper out of gift bags and held gifts up to pose for photos. Various conversations were taking place in the room as Kristin and I were standing somewhat across from each other. I handed Margaret a tall thin gift bag. She made an exaggerated enthusiastic face at the obviously alcoholic gift and proceeded to pull the tissue paper out of the bag.
She pulled out a pinot noir with no foil at the top and drunkenly uttered “Oooh twist off!” as she examined the cap of the bottle and made her way down to the front label. “You know, I saw this at the store and I’ve been wanting to try this!” she exclaimed. She went into the kitchen and came back with a handful of glasses. I realized my victory when she pushed the other gifts out of the way to make room for the glasses. On top of that pile of gifts lay the foil cutter. As I watched the foil cutter being pushed out of the way to make room for my gift, I looked up and made eye contact with Kristin.
Margaret quickly poured sloppy uneven amounts in the wine glasses and started to offer them to whoever was around. "Would you like a glass?" she asked me.
"I'd love one," I replied, looking at Kristin. When offered a glass, Kristin politely shook her head and walked away from the table.