No one needed to bring a gift. The bride brought music. The groom brought words. And a lifetime apart had brought china and linens and two very nice toasters.
But nothing lasts forever, and wedding guests feel awkward showing up empty-handed. So each brought a box as covered with ribbons and bows on the outside as it was empty within. The best man directed each guest to the study at the top of the house, a room that only existed when it was needed. Boxes replaced books on the shelves that circled the study, spilling onto the floor like miniatures of Pisa’s tower. When the last spot was taken, the maid-of-honor shut the door. The room folded in on itself, collapsing into a wall remarkable only for the small, gold keyhole where a doorknob would have been, if there had been a door to warrant one.
As the years passed and the china broke, or the linens wore thin, or the toasters burnt out, the groom unlocked the room, unwrapped a box, and placed the worn-out whatever inside. The bride rescued the card from the crumpled paper at her husband’s feet and wrote a note of her own to the name penned inside.
By the time the guest received the thank you note, the china was unchipped, the linen was thick and soft, and the toaster was warming slices of bread to a perfect brown in the kitchen. And the box was torn at the seams, folded flat, and placed carefully in the rubbish bin for someone to take it away.