"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Random Acts of Giving

Two years ago, I started giving my stuff away. It began on a Christmas Eve, when someone said they really liked my earrings. I took them out of my ears and placed them in her hands. "They are now yours."  Maybe it was the look on her face. Maybe it was the way my anger went soft and I carried it lighter for awhile. But make no mistake about it....since then it has been for me, not for the recipients, that I hand over my jewelry when complimented on it. It has nothing to do with generosity. Perhaps it has more to do with fate.

Yesterday I saw a co-worker in the lunch room. She works a different department but is always kind. She calls me by name. I do not know hers. She asks about my day. I say "okay" and wonder if I ever ask back. She is hard to understand...her accent. And on this day, she says "Good afternoon Annie", and "I love your earrings". 

"Are your ears pierced?" I ask her, for I have never seen jewelry on her. She nods. I take them out of my ears and hand them to her. I dismiss her thanks. "I can make another pair" I say. She asks me of this, my hobby, my other hobbies. She draws me out, but I wish to leave. I am uncomfortable with her gratitude. I make my answers short and turn away as she puts the earrings in her ears, says she wants to go look in the mirror. "They look beautiful on you" I tell her, and it's true. They are perfect. I think nothing of this again until she comes into my office with a card. The right side is a thank you note. On the left, an anniversary, a story....sixteen words.

Her name is Rita. She is from Lebanon.

Lebanon 1979: "As various other groups took sides, the fighting spread to other areas of the country, forcing residents in towns with mixed sectarian populations to seek safety in regions where their sect was dominant. Even so, the militias became embroiled in a pattern of attack followed by retaliation, including acts against uninvolved civilians."


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Thank you for listening.