Image © Mission Australia
She sat slumped in the big people’s chair tinkling on the little wooden xylophone she had “borrowed” from the shelf. Her mother and a friend sat beside her chatting and sipping coffee in the busy coffee book store that has become my favourite place to write.
I looked up suddenly… fascinated. It had been ages since I’d heard that sound. The crisp tinkle of the keys took me back to the simple joy of simple toys in a simpler time and place.
It was a lovely scene… and I smiled to myself as I watched
because I knew it couldn’t last.
The shop assistant would be over there soon… and the magic would have to end.
And then… right on cue… there she was.
Like a dark cloud casting its shadow across the sun… the shop assistant stood towering over the little girl. I wondered secretly [holding my heart] how she was going to handle this. Then with a purposeful look… she bent down unrepentant and fixed the child with a solid gaze before extracting the toy from the little girl’s hands.
The mother sat in silent acceptance as the child relinquished the toy to its rightful owner. The little girl to her credit didn’t argue or complain but merely gave it up with eyes downcast… her humiliation complete.
Then… with mission accomplished… the shop assistant stepped back with the toy in her hands and without a backward glance returned the errant product triumphantly back onto the shelf.
She was only doing her job. I know.
But I longed for a pang of regret.
And watched closely for it.
But no. She just walked away.
The xylophone sat silently back on the shelf… the air around it filled with the palpable sound of uninterrupted silence.
In that moment the world lost its innocence.
And the child grew up.
But what if she didn’t have to?
What if the world didn’t have to be so unkind?
What if I could somehow change things?
What if they thought I was interfering?
What if… what if… what if?
I downed the last sip of my coffee.
Then without stopping to think… I got up and walked over to where the xylophone sat on the shelf. I picked up the box and perused the price. It was reasonable.
I tucked the box under my arm and walked up to the counter to order another coffee.
“Oh… and I’ll take the xylophone too” I squeaked… now not quite so sure of my actions.
I wanted to make things right. Even if only in this very small way.
I wanted this little girl to feel better about her experience. Better about the world. And the way things worked. I wanted her to know about kindness. And how it might not be dead. And how people DO still care.
“That will be $25.90 thanks” the shop assistant said looking slightly embarrassed.
[Oh shoot... I hadn't counted on making HER feel bad]
But this thing was bigger than us.
WE would all get over it.
The little girl might not.
So I pressed on with the purchase… put the box under my arm… and headed tentatively over to their table.
The mother looked up in blank surprise as I handed her the box… and for a split second I felt a bit silly.
“Are you serious?” she said with a growing smile
“Oh wow… that’s wonderful… thank you… but are you sure?”
Yes… I was sure [grin]
She handed the box to the little girl and her face lit up.
“You know that’s all she wanted for Christmas” she explained
“Niall loves to make music”
I apologised for stealing Santa’s thunder… but she hastened to reassure me that I’d made their day.
[I was relieved... because it could have gone either way]
Niall smiled from ear to ear when her mother told her the xylophone was hers to keep.
“And hey… who didn’t want to come to town today to go to the Doctor!?” she chided the little girl lightly.
Then… confiding in me afterward she added
“We’re hoping for good news today”
I stood there shocked.
“I think it’s going to be a VERY good day” she said with a smile.
A very good day.
For ALL of us!
EVERY GOOD WISH FOR A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO GOOD FRIENDS HERE.
MAY YOUR DAYS HERE ON EARTH BE FILLED WITH LOVE.
AND MAY THE PEOPLE WHO COME INTO YOUR LIFE AND LOVINGLY PASS THROUGH IT… THOSE WHO TOUCH YOUR HEART AND CHANGE IT FOREVER… BRING YOU GRATITUDE … DEEP CONTENTMENT AND HAPPINESS BEYOND MEASURE.
LIFE IS GOOD. LET’S LIVE IT.