One of the things that attracted me to M was his generosity – when he is in funds he likes to spend money on his friends and loved ones. Fine wine, good food, art, things that he thinks the person will enjoy. In the beginning I was impressed with this side of him, but I have since learned that his gifts come with strings.
For instance, early in our relationship he bought me a leather jacket. It’s a very nice jacket, but a bit too fitted for my taste – I’m always cold, so I want my jackets to be roomy enough to wear a layer or two underneath so I don’t shiver all day. Therefore, this jacket has a very short and specific season when it can be worn with any comfort. You can see where this is headed, right? M thought that I should wear the jacket much more often than I did, and I should wear it for very specific things, and with certain pants, etc. etc. etc. The way I was actually using something that he bought for me, as a gift, was cause for criticism and judgement. He has said many times that he should give the jacket away to someone who will appreciate it and wear it as it should be worn. At this very moment it’s in the back of a closet because I can’t stand the sight of it. Anything that he gives to me must be used as he intended it to be (even if he doesn’t say what he expects) and should be treated as a sacred object (Like the riding boots I wore every day because I loved them so much – he about had a stroke when he found out I was wearing them to the barn and to ride my horse. Hello! They were riding boots!)
Anyway. I am studying the violin. A friend had a very nice violin that needed a bit of work. I asked to do the work because I’m interested in learning how violins are made and it was an easy project. After it was finished and playable again I called our friend and he told me to keep it and play it for a while. I had a ton of fun using an instrument that I know I would not be able to afford to own and was fully prepared for it to go back to its real home. M said that our friend wanted $400* for it, which is a good price, but I’m working two part-time jobs and don’t have that kind of spare change lying around, nor would I be able to justify myself to M if I bought it because he is faaahhhreeekeeeed out about money right now.
Cutting to the chase, I made a comment about the strings needing to be replaced on this nice violin, but that I didn’t have the cash to buy the expensive strings that our friend prefers, so it will have to go back into the case to await pick up.
Very late last night M came in to the bedroom with a delighted look on his face. “I bought you a new fiddle,” he says.
“What?” I’m exhausted and half asleep and really not in the mood for whatever kind of shit this is going to turn into.
“I bought you a new fiddle just now.” He really is gleeful.
“Where did you buy me a new fiddle? What kind?” It hadn’t occurred to me that it was the violin that I’ve been playing for three months.
“B’s fiddle – he just agreed to sell it to me!” He’s so fucking happy, and I am so tired.
“Wow! That’s great! Thank you!” Now please let me sleep…Please?
I tried to be as effusive with my thanks as he thinks he deserves (it really is a nice violin, and I really do appreciate being able to keep it) and keep a happy face, but it was late and I was very tired. I changed the strings today and played for a while even though I’m tired (do I say that too much? This month has been a bitch and I need a nap!)
This will end badly, if every other gift he’s given me is any indication, it remains to be seen what direction it will take, but I am prepared.
* I knew B would want (and deserve) more money than I could pay, so I never asked what he might want for the violin. I was just happy to be able to play an instrument that is far above my abilities. Being the bitch that I am, I hacked M’s email to see what he paid for it (empty your trash folder!) $200.00. Cheaper than it should have been, especially as it comes with a very nice case and bow – essentially what B has in to it and nothing more. I might have been able to pay that, but it’s too late now…