I don’t tend to question when free crap comes my way. I’ve actually been known to put myself in circumstances where I can get stuff for free. In high school I inherited old textbooks from upperclassman friends. College found me sifting through the donation bins when everyone moved out of the dorms at the end of the year. I know all of the spots in town that have events with free food, and what night of the week those events are on.
So when the packages started to arrive in the mail, I thought, oh fuck yes. Somebody had obviously gotten the wrong address, and since there was no name on the box, no return address, there was nothing I could do but accept each box as it came.
Weirdly enough, each gift ended up being useful. The first week, it was a pair of shoe laces. Two days after I got that box, the laces on my running shoes broke. The new ones fit perfectly.
It was always super minor stuff. One week I actually got a box of condoms. Ethan and I met not long after that, a drunken Tinder date turned real relationship by the end of that box. Right before my sister’s birthday, I got a box of cake mix. Which was great, because I’d forgotten to get her anything special. But everyone loves a treat on their birthday.
The box this week was a little bigger than normal. Ethan brought it in for me, since it was sitting on the porch when he came over.
“What’s this?” I asked, giving him a kiss in greeting.
“Dunno,” he said. “It was waiting when I arrived.”
“Ah.” I hadn’t told him about the gifts. Now would probably be the perfect opportunity – after I opened it, of course. “Well let’s find out, then.”
I ripped the tape off and pulled the cardboard flaps back.
Inside was a jumble of wooden parts encased in some plastic wrapping. A paper pamphlet lay on top. Ethan picked it up.
“A crib?” He looked at me.
My heart stopped.