I phoned Greyhound today and found out that my bicycle has arrived from the west coast. I felt myself contract, knowing that I’m nowhere near ready to get back on the saddle. But it was time to pick ta-pocketa up. Happily, my boxed steed fit nicely into Scarlet and it was off to Cyzzle Cycles. Sygnan was out and about somewhere when I arrived but would be back in half an hour.
I knew that around the corner was Cyprus Pizza and I thought it would be a slice to show up there. Tony was very friendly and I headed outside to eat and drink. The wooden bench I aimed for was in the sun, and it was a hot and humid day. Tony intercepted me and moved the bench into the shade. How very kind. He was sitting with Koula, his sister-in-law. Since there were no other customers, the two of them were luxuriating under a tree.
Immediately the three of us were cozy together. Those were real smiles looking my way. I asked if they were from Cyprus and the answer was yes. With great longing, they described the beauty of their homeland, an island near Greece. Isn’t this just the way life should be … instant friends chatting in the shade?
Their pepperoni pizza was thoroughly yummy and I made sure to tell them so. Little grins appeared. Koula asked me about Belmont, my home village, and we three were off to the conversational races. She offered me strawberries, cherries and a peach from her tray, and I unthinkingly said “No thanks.” After all, I was perfectly immersed in pepperoni. But there was a niggling something in the back of my head, which didn’t move into the thinking part of my brain for a few minutes.
Was Koula’s head a little lower than it has been a bit earlier? Was there a slump in her body? I believe there was. Seconds later, she asked again if I’d like some fruit. Without consciously sensing my earlier mistake, I said “Yes.” Her glow and her outstretched hand said it all.
The gift is in graciously receiving the other’s gift. It’s a two-way street of generosity. From unconscious to conscious, I made the course correction. It’s what the world needs.
Koula, Tony and I waved goodbye after the strawberry of life was savoured. We knew what had happened and we were glad.