Birthday preparations

Sasha’s birthday was coming up and especially after the whole Spa trip I had no idea what to get him. What do you give a person that literally has everything. His mom would send him clothes that she got in Russia and when she was in Munich I saw her spent 10.000 Euros on a pair of jeans, a coat and some shoes for Sasha. So anything materialistic was out of the question. It had to be personal and it had to be something that money couldn’t buy. I loved the night at the Spa, it had felt incredibly personal and intimate but I was perfectly aware that this must have cost him a fortune and I really didn’t have that kind of money. It didn’t help that I had no one to ask for an opinion. I considered calling Vicky as she was very creative and had amazing, personalized ideas for everyone but it felt wrong. When I called Dima he told me to get him a bottle of Vodka and a lap dance. When I asked my mom she told me to knit him something or make him a nice photo album of our time together. These were nice add ons but it was nothing that I would actually consider giving Sasha as a present. I was out of ideas, and it didn’t help that every time I brought up his birthday he would tell me that it wasn’t important and I shouldn’t even bother giving him a present anyways.

After I had spend hours researching „unusual gifts for someone who has everything“ I was getting more frustrated and decided to go outside, get some fresh air and a coffee that might help me concentrate. As I stepped out of the building I saw a familiar face approaching but I couldn’t quite place it. After the pretty brunette came closer it finally hit me. „Natalia, hey, how are you.“ „Oh, good, good. Emma. How are you?“ „Oh I am ok, I am trying to think of a present for Sasha, but so far I have…“ I lifted my hands and showed her my empty palms. She laughed. „Oh yes, I can see that that might be difficult. You have 2 weeks left, right?“ „Yes, round about..“ How did she know Sasha’s birthday? But they worked together so they probably had a work birthday calendar or something. I tried to relax. „Let me think. We are getting him an new iPad, the thin one, you know.“ „Um, yes, I know.“ „I knew immediately that I had to get one for him when he invited me to his party, because he is carrying that big one around all the time, you know.“ I didn’t know what to say. Sasha was having a party and I knew nothing about it, plus he always gave the impression that his birthday didn’t matter to him. „Yeah, that is a very good idea.“ I stammered. „But now, what can you get him? I will help you, yes?“ Natalia kept talking and throwing ideas around and I tried to focus. Despite the fact that they were all out of my price range, she did have a pretty good understanding of Sasha’s character. I couldn’t say that it surprised me as much as it hurt me. I knew they were close at work, and with her being Russian too, they had more in common than we did but with her being on the same financial level as well I felt much more out of place than I had in a while.

***

When Natalia excused herself, as she had to get back to the office I thought about what she had suggested. A short trip. Nothing too fancy. More something that would really catch his attention. It didn’t have to be a crazy hotel, but rather something they could look back upon, like Paris, or Venice, something romantic. And I could spin it around so it would fit my budget and us as a couple. It didn’t have to be 5 star, it could be a camping ground or a youth hostel, maybe it would be a good thing that it wasn’t something he already knew. Of course that wasn’t at all what Natalia had suggested but I liked how I had put a spin on her idea, even though technically it still was her idea. I got my coffee and started my internet research from my phone on the way back to the apartment.

***

I had completely forgotten about Megan throughout the whole planning of Sasha’s birthday so when I remembered that I was supposed to send her a time and date for a night out I slightly panicked. I couldn’t afford to lose yet another friend. I texted her immediately: „Hey Meg, sorry it took me so long. Uni had me tied up and Sasha’s birthday is coming up. What do you think - want to crash his party? Of course he will be thrilled that you are there and so will I“. I could kill two birds with one stone, I could spend some time with Meg and it wouldn’t only be Sasha’s friends at the party. It took her only a couple of minutes to reply. „Sure, sounds good. Why don’t you let me know where it is all going down and tell me what to get that spoilt little boyfriend of yours. ;)“. I laughed out lout. I would suggest the Vodka and a lap dance thing.

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