I was one such transaction, and a poorly managed one at that.
Special occasions were much the same. Generally they would be jet-setting, with father opening new hotels and mother playing the happy wife beside him, or mother posing with a collection of lithe and limber Ukrainian gymnasts as father watched on in the background. On the odd occasion however, they would be around for my birthday or Christmas, I would receive small, practical gifts with small, practical cards.
From: Mother and Father
On my tenth Christmas Day, I disturbed father in his study.
The next day, father left.
On Christmas Eve that year, an airmail envelope addressed to me was delivered. In the envelope I found ten photos of Athens, a cheque for a sizeable amount of money, and a note typewritten on hotel letterhead:
Merry Christmas, child
On my 35th birthday, I signed a deal with a gallery to have my work exhibited. I arrived late for dinner at mother’s, and found her dead on the floor of the dining room. A lavish meal was steaming on the beautifully set table - no novels or accounts were to be seen.
Weeks later, I cleared out mother’s storage and sewing room. She had stowed away her sewing machine and set up my old typewriter. Next to it I found a box of old travel photographs, and a stack of various hotel letterheads.