“Merry Christmas, Wichita.”
Columbus handed her a poorly wrapped box, covered in old newspapers and held together with almost as much tape as ersatz gift paper.
“Is it Christmas already?” she asked, taking the gift and shaking it out of habit. Some habits died hard, Columbus thought, before remembering she’d asked him a question.
“Huh? Oh, yeah, I think it is, at least by my count.” He shrugged and rubbed the back of his neck. “I could be off by a day or two though, totally.”
They’d been stationary for a few days now, in an old motel that at least afforded them some privacy along with a safe place to stay. Its outside fence was still intact, and they took turns patrolling it at night to make sure nothing snuck up on them. It was Tallahassee’s turn, and Little Rock was asleep in her own room.
“It’s just that I thought I had a bit more time, that’s all.” Wichita started prying open the box as she spoke. “To get a gift for Little Rock, I mean. I’ve got you all sorted out, but I don’t know what to get her yet.”
“I’ll help,” Columbus volunteered without even thinking about it. “I don’t know what she likes, really, but just say the word and I’ll do what I can.”
Wichita finally prised the lid off of the box, the pulled out its contents. A dark coloured hoodie unfolded in her hands, and she held it up in front of her. It was a little too big for her, and, as she turned it around the see its front, she squinted at it.
“Hold on, haven’t I seen this before?” she asked.
“Yeah, it’s one of mine,” Columbus explained. “I thought that, you know, since we’re - do you call it dating? Because there’s only so many of us around, after all, but you know what I mean. It used to be customary for a boyfr- I mean, for one person dating another person to wear that other person’s clothing and -“
Before he could stumble through an explain any further, Wichita leaned over and kissed him, pulling the hoodie closer to her chest.
“So… you like it, then?” he asked after a few more awkward seconds of silence.
“Hmm,” Wichita said, reaching down and tugging at the bottom of her own shirt. “I’m not sure, maybe I should try it on and see if I like it first.”
“Oh, ok,” he replied. “So should I wait outside first or…”
Wichita laughed and got to her feet, kissing him on the forehead. “Merry Christmas to you too, doofus.”
She closed and locked the bedroom door.