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Saturday This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   A funny thing happened tome yesterday. My alarm clock went off and for the first time I didn't want tothrow it against the wall. My room was filled with sunshine, and the lightbouncing off the pale blue walls made it seem like I was gazing into the sky.Gold and silver necklaces dangling from my dresser top glimmered as the sun bentalong their shapes. A slight breeze made its way through my window and I couldsmell fresh-cut grass. I stretched, poking my toes into the air and examiningthem like a baby. This was going to be a good day.

The shower wasrejuvenating, and I decided it was no day to be indoors. I threw on shorts and at-shirt and broke out into the morning light. A cappuccino from the coffee shopwas calling my name on this beautiful Saturday. On my way I found five dollars! Ifigured it was a sign that I was destined to have a free coffee. I walked inside,still smiling, and examined the fresh-baked goods, my mouth watering.

Inthe corner I spotted a young woman, her face without a touch of make-up and herhair swept up in a tight bun, as if she'd had no time to look in the mirror. Astroller next to her held a beautiful green-eyed baby crying as though her hairwere on fire. A two-year-old with devilish red hair was dancing around, alsoscreaming. Her screaming, however, seemed to be more like a song, or that's how Iinterpreted it from the smile on her face. The mother, frantic, was trying tocalm her baby while at the same time scold the toddler. I knew the woman wasembarrassed and needed some help. I knelt by the girl.

"What's yourname, sweetheart?" I asked.

Her big green eyes looked at mesuspiciously, like she was playing with my head, and responded, "MarthaJean."

"Well, Martha, you are singing a beautiful song, but Ithink your mommy is getting upset. Would you like to sit with me and have amuffin?"

"Yeah!"

Martha examined all the muffinswith great inquisitiveness. Her bright red hair covered half her face but everyonce in a while I got a glance of her eyes which were squinting, obviouslythinking hard. After finally picking the perfect muffin, we sat at the table nextto her mother.

"Oh my gosh, I am so sorry! Is she botheringyou?" the frantic mother pleaded.

"Why no. In fact, we were justsitting down to a lovely muffin, discussing songs. Come join us."

Myface lit up as the mother's became puzzled. I could now see the stray strands ofbrown hair sticking out behind her ears. When the light hit it just right therewas definitely grey mixed in. From stress, no doubt. I bought the woman a coffeeand continued talking with her and the rambunctious two-year old. We talked offamilies, stresses, work and things we never got to do anymore. It was as thoughwe had found a long-lost friend in each other.

"When I wasyounger," she said almost in a whisper, "I never wore my hair up. Ialways wanted it to be free and in the wind. I love that feeling. I don't think Ihave let it down in years."

After about 40 minutes she glanced at herwatch and jumped up from her seat.

"I can't believe how the time hasflown! I can't thank you enough for such a lovely morning," she said. Herbright smile made her look ten years younger. We exchanged numbers and agreed tomeet again sometime. I watched her and the children walk outside. They stopped atthe corner to wait for the walk signal, and as I watched, a smile crept over myface. The young mother had let down her hair.

***

A funny thinghappened to me today. I awoke, as usual, to a screaming baby, but as I rushed toher side I thought, I would really love a cup of coffee. After feeding the babyand having one bite of granola from my chipped cereal bowl, my energetic Marthagalloped into the kitchen, her red hair tangled. I always wondered what kind ofdreams she had that would make her move around so much. With the baby half-asleepand Martha dying to go outside, I worked up the courage to attempt taking both tothe coffee shop nearby. I figured a quiet breakfast there would prepare me formeeting the day-care group at eleven.

At the coffee shop I planted myselfat the corner table where the light was brightest. The large windows werespotless until Martha traced her hands along the painted sign on the outside. Oncue, the baby began to throw a fit, which prompted Martha to take center stagewith a made-up song. Trying to hush a screaming baby and scold a two-year-old atthe same time is no easy task. I gave so much attention to the baby I didn'tnotice the woman talking to Martha at the next table. Stunned, I jumped up,trying to rescue the poor woman. It turned out she had taken Martha aside, boughther a muffin and was having a very interesting conversation. She invited me tosit with them, and for once I was having an adult conversation. For the firsttime in years, I was relaxing and opening up to another person.

When Iglanced at my watch I realized we had been talking for quite some time and I onlyhad 15 minutes to get to the park and join the other day-care kids. As I made myway outside I felt the cool breeze on my neck and let my hair down. We arrived atthe park and my children went off to play for the day. With my newfound energy Idecided I was not going to use my precious hours to clean house but would insteadbe among people.

I strolled into a flower shop. The saleslady came out,obviously flustered. I went to the cooler and pulled out four daisies. The womanwrapped them in bright pink tinfoil, and told me to have a nice day. I laid thedaisies on the counter and unwrapped them. The woman looked shocked and a bithurt. I took one daisy out and stuck the bright white flower behind my ear, andhanded the other three to the woman.

"I think you need them more thanI do. You have a better day."

I gave her a smile and turned to leave.As I was about to go out the door I looked back at her. She was staring at mewith a smile and a tear gracing her face.

"Thank you," shesaid.

***

A funny thing happened today. My alarm clock went off asusual around seven and I went through my normal routine before heading to work.My flower shop is a mess. Orders aren't going out on time, employees have beenlate, we're running out of supplies, and a horrible dinner with my family lastnight was dimming my spirits. Normally, I would put on a strong face and takecare of it, but today it seemed worse than usual.

It seemed that everyonewas in a rush. No smiles today, no pleasantries, just "Give me this and giveme that." I wondered if I should go home. Then I heard the bell ring. Okay,I thought, just this last customer. She was a plain woman with pretty brown hairfalling around her shoulders. She seemed pleasant as she picked out four daisies,my favorite flower. It seemed as though she was in a world of her own. But afterI rang up her flowers, she proceeded to unwrap them, then delicately placed onebehind her ear and handed me the other three.

"I think you need themmore than I do. You have a better day," she said.

With that, thiswonderful human being left my store. She wanted no thanks, only to improve myday. I was so touched I began to cry. Shortly, an older man came in. His funnyhat and light tan pants reminded me of a golfer, his green striped polo shirthanging from his drooping shoulders.

"Excuse me, miss, but do youhave any marigolds?" he asked politely.

"Why no, I'm sorry.Marigolds aren't a very popular item. I don't know any flower shop that carriesthem."

"I was afraid of that. My wife is in the hospital andmarigolds are her favorite flower. She always planted a grand garden of them inour bedroom window box. There isn't much time left and I was hoping to buysome."

"Oh, I am so sorry to hear that. I don't havemarigolds, but I can make a beautiful arrangement that would be evenbetter."

I ran to the back of the store and filled my mostexpensive basket with fragrant flowers.

"Why, that's right kind ofyou, ma'am. How much do I owe you?"

"Don't even think about it,sir. Take these to your wife. God bless you both."

"I don't knowhow to thank you."

As he turned, the light from the window caught hischeek and lit a single tear.

***

A funny thing happened today. Iwoke this morning with sadness in my heart. My wife is in the hospital with onlymoments left. Gazing out our bedroom window, I thought of the beautiful marigoldsshe always loved to plant. I knew in my heart it was our last day together, and Iwanted to do something special.

I strolled into a flower shop thinkingabout this last gift to my wife. The woman behind the counter had a strange lookon her face. I asked her for marigolds and explained why. She offered, instead, aspecially made arrangement. She prepared a stunning basket. What's more, shedeclined my money. Through the sadness of the day I could not help but smile ather generosity.

On my way to the hospital I saw a young woman on thesidewalk, her head tilted back as far as it could go. Her eyes were closed and asmile stretched across her face. She lowered her head and stared straight into myeyes. She was not embarrassed at all, in fact, she seemed at peace andpleased.

"Hello, sir," she said.

"Why, young lady,what might you be looking at?"

"The sky," she responded.Her reaction made me chuckle. I said nothing but instead took one of the flowersfrom my wife's basket. It was a gorgeous flower that I knew immediately wouldhave been my wife's favorite. As the girl returned to her sky-watching position Istuck the radiant flower in her purse. She did not notice, and I continued mywalk to the hospital, imagining the girl's reaction when she saw the flower inher purse.

***

Another funny thing happened today. After mywonderful breakfast, meeting Martha and running some errands, I stopped andlooked straight into the sky. The beauty and simplicity offered by the cloudsoverwhelmed me. As I was standing there, an elderly man approached me with agorgeous basket of flowers. The expression on his face was a warm one, and I feltcomfortable greeting him. When he asked what I was looking at, I told him thesky. I didn't hear him leave as I tilted my head back again. After a few minutesmy mind returned to Earth and I began my trek home. I glided up the stairs andhung my purse on the dresser near my necklaces which had shone so brightly in themorning light. I hadn't even noticed the flower that barely emerged from mypurse.

It was a perfect end an extraordinary day. What kindness we findin other people. Most of the time, we don't think others notice our feelings orread our faces, but they do. George Washington Carver once said, "How faryou go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate withthe aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong,because some day you will have been all of these."

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Join the Discussion

This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

Ride4Life said...
Apr. 30, 2014 at 12:28 pm
Such a beautiful story! I love how everyone is linked somehow.
 
Bookwizard said...
Mar. 31, 2013 at 1:54 pm
It was funny because when I first started reading it, I wasn't really into the story but as I read on it just became really wonderful. I love the concept and I loved how you ended it with the person you started with. Nice job! 
 
nikkigonefishin said...
Mar. 17, 2011 at 11:56 pm
I loved this and the way you made the story flow and it really sets a good example of the power of kindness. Good job and keep writing :)
 
AmaranthaVoss said...
Mar. 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm
That was so beautiful!!! It reminded me of when I was little and someone read a book to me, similar to this; a chain of events, one person just being kind to another. I smiled the whole time I was reading this. Thanks!
 
NeVassa said...
Mar. 17, 2011 at 9:00 am
This is absolutely extraordinary!!!! I love it, I wish it could happen more often. Perfect!
 
writergirl76 said...
Jan. 17, 2009 at 9:06 pm
Wonderful chain of events!
 
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