On a beach in the south of India, she asked me for shampoo. I walked back into the little hut where we were staying and retrieved what I had left. I brought it back to her. She thanked me in what little English she knew. Then she reached into her bag and pulled out a pair of earrings – silly little handmade dangling hoops. She placed them into my hands.
I think I’m pretty easy to shop for. I love anything weird or ridiculous or unique. I love the eccentric. I love the homemade. I love books and journals and anything having to do with literature. People have told me more than once that they’ve walked into a store, looked at something, and thought “that is SO Frankie.”
I love this about myself and about my friends. I love that there are things that are “SO me.” I love that these gifts are a reflection of who I am and how others see me. I love to tear off the wrapping and reveal this mutual understanding. I love that I can be defined in such a way.
But I also think I’m pretty easy to shop for because I’ve never received a gift that I didn’t love. Ever. I’ve never gotten clothing or jewelry that I didn’t happily wear. I’ve never gotten books or journals that I didn’t jump into right away. I’ve never gotten cards or letters that I didn’t plan to keep forever. I’ve never gotten hugs that didn’t mean the entire world. I’ve never been given anything, in all of my 27 years, that I didn’t understand to be an expression of friendship and gratitude and love.
I had over 100 birthday wishes before 9am. I can’t even begin to put that into words. The number continues to climb. At work, I was greeted with cards and cookies and candy and balloons and songs and countless hugs. Each day of my life, I am greeted with love. Today, I was overwhelmed with it.
What more is there?
What more could I ever possibly hope for? What more could I ever hope to have or to be? I am someone who loves. I am someone loved. That is SO Frankie.
I still have those earrings she so tenderly, gratefully, lovingly pressed into my hands. I still think of her whenever I see them, sitting on my dresser, a reflection of who I was and who I continue to become. I see the gift she gave me.
And I see the gifts each of you give me, not just on holidays and birthdays, and not just material things. Every single day of this little life of mine I see your patience and your kindness and your love. I see that you are there. I see that you get me, that you understand me, that you see me. I know that I am the luckiest. All of you have been an important part of my 27 years. My heart is so full of love, of you.
And what more can I possibly say?
But over and over and over again – Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.