The first time it happened, Darcy was seven years old. She was staring at the Christmas tree, all glittering and untouchable with tinsel and glass ornaments.
Tomorrow morning, she would wake to a pile of presents beneath it. Darcy could see them now. Big ones, and less desirable small ones. The foil bows, the Santa Claus and reindeer patterns. In a frenzied rush, she’d rip and tear. She could hear the paper and tape give and feel it beneath her fingers.
And then she was there. In the midst of gift-giving chaos.
An Easy-Bake Oven. Pretty-in-Pink Barbie and a bunch of outfits. A Lite-Brite. Books from her aunt and uncle. Socks.
Just as she was about to dress Barbie as a ballerina, Darcy was standing in front of the tree again, not a bow or gaudy wrapper in sight.
Darcy grinned. Tomorrow, she could do it all again.
The next morning, she recognized all the presents. The biggest, the Lite-Brite. The smallest, socks. It wasn’t as much fun as she thought it would be.
The jumps happened every time Darcy was bouncy with anticipation. Christmas. Birthdays. Visits to the circus, the zoo, amusement parks. When she was older, school events and dates.
The process was exhausting and draining. Hours passed twice. Enthusiasm had to be faked to keep other people happy.
But Darcy couldn’t help it.
She just couldn’t wait.