By Sarah Fujimoto
I met him last week. A 10 year old kid, he rides with his sibling to the gym. While his sibling works, he occupies his time with various activities. Seemingly bored at times, he fills the five hours playing with children too young, pacing around, and sitting in our chairs at the caf.
He seems too advanced for his own good, options given to him seem to limit and not propel him forward…leaving him to his own devices, which may explain his neat maturity.
It’s a maturity that isn’t attached to labels, appearances, or saying the right things. It’s a maturity of heart, one that speaks the truth, is real to admit weaknesses and mistakes, and filled with gratitude.
Simple how one life can communicate that in a matter of a few interactions.
Our lives communicate things, said and unsaid, the ways we hide things or creatively conform them to our own interests show through, deceiving only us. My friend doesn’t fluff around, he says it like it is. I’ve known most kids to be brutally honest, not learning yet to filter to be socially appropriate. I think we can learn a few things from this type of honesty.
I had a vision come to mind a day after meeting this kid. I saw him with a pen and a graph type pad, wondering if he had aspirations to be some sort of architect someday. The next day I asked him and he wondered how I had guessed, for he, in fact, loved to draw. Determined to achieve his own set goal, he informed me that he would draw me a picture and get back to me in a bit. He fulfilled his goal, on the back of a coloring page, and freely gave me such a lovely picture.
I remember, as a kid, having to draw on those coloring sheets when there was no other plain paper. The lines and forms that once were friendly during the days when I would want to color in the lines seemed like my new found enemy, blocking any creative thought or movement of my attempt to free draw.
I saw that expression on his face too. Today, I gave him a sketchbook and pen, blowing it off nonchalantly that I had a few extras and thought he could use it. Him seeing through my attempts to not make him feel uncomfortable, he looked up, tilted his head, and said, “You bought this, didn’t you?”
Admitting to my gesture, I told him I did. Rapidly quipping back, he dug his hands in his pockets while he exclaimed, “Today, I have money to get something.” Grabbing a bag of chips and pulling out his change, he spread it across the counter. Total ringing up to $1.64, I saw he was short. Before a moment passed where I could think what to do, he stared at me directly in the eye while he said, “It’s not enough, is it?”
Shrugging, explaining it was no big deal, I pulled some change out of the tip jar and explained that we could use a bit of this. Two customers later, both short of their order by a few cents, my discovery of this after their backs turned away from me. The mental remembrance of their facial expressions of embarrassment and awkward gestures a moment ago connects now… I chipped in from my tip jar. They hid, they ran. My friend stood straight up and told me that he didn’t have enough. No shame.
I saw him later in the day, drawing away, my thoughts that he would surely conserve his drawing pad and paper since I knew it was special. It was half filled. Sketch after sketch after sketch. His last attempts to make a motion flip book in the back; he draws variations of a skateboarder in motion. He flips through, pictures too large and his flipping too slow to truly look like anything is in motion, he chuckles. It seems to work for him.
He brought peace today, people all around me filled with anxiousness, stress, and explanations of their busy schedules, I ponder if we have a choice. Lately, I have had to decide what my focuses are during this specific season of transition I’m in, and stick to them. I have to guard my time and my priorities, with a somewhat flexible and discerning hand, or they will be taken from me. The taker most usually unaware, while I run around tired, exhausted, and too busy for life. Are we enjoying what we are living and doing?
My friend seems to be, his approach to life honest, wise, exuberant, and thankful. As I proceed to leave the caf after my shift is done, he tells me how thankful he is for the drawing pad. $3.00 out of my pocket, a small gesture to another, can mean a world to someone who appreciates and cares for every bit of life. I can tell he means what he says when he says, “Thank you.”
Sarah enjoys creating new things and old alike while traveling to new places. She enjoys art and restoration, a good cup of tea, and puppies. You can access her assortment of artistic entourages she creates here.