Anyway, on with the story.
A week passes fruitlessly, so I resolve to use the "N" bomb in my arsenal: Give her a present myself. Something that would make her impossible not to reciprocate, something that would make her feel guilty at any time she just looks at that. What I buy is a biscuits tin box with a carillon that rings whenever it's moved. "This is genius", I giggle. "If she doesn't fall for it, she's not human", is my thinking.
She doesn't. The Canadian Caterpillar, in front of a hint the size of the Matterhorn, just carries on with ruthless stubbornness.
Another week week later, I'm forced to wave my white flag, but since I would like to have at least the honors of war, I have to resort to Padrino tactics: the proposal that you can't refuse. After a kind good morning from her, I retort: "You're not clearing your conscience so easily, dear. But I'm sure you like this subtle torture, don't you?" Now, this is the closest I can get to begging "give me the damn present now or we are not friends anymore," and anybody who knows me would understand it. But not her. The red fingernailed juggernaut, in front of the moral equivalent of a bleeding horse head in your bed, just escalates to Defcon 1: "That's ok, I will win this one yet."
This is how our friendship was over forever (that is, until she just lowers her big blue eyes and softly whispers 'I'm sorry'). Not because she is an incorruptible torturer without a cause, but because she still hasn't understood that men have feelings too! And that if you shake one of our deepest rooted certainties, i.e. that we can have whatever we want no need to ask, you will get in trouble.
In the end, even I have not clearly understood how a spontaneous act of kindness has been turned into a claw. That's beyond me. What I'm sure of, is that at the end of the story, she'll walk away with it. She always does.
Footnote: I have to be honest, the battle still rages. In the end there will be a casualty or two, but I thought it would be interesting to share two sides of a story - and how a seemingly benign, and even intended thoughtful gesture can have the opposite affect when two people refrain from sharing openly. Even two very good friends...