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Archive for Nokia

the best grab-bag ever

< by Jill >

She had the husky voice of a lifelong smoker and the sculpted bifocals of a librarian. At 3’8″ tall, she couldn’t help but hoist her khakis above the navel. Suspenders would have sealed her fate as a dork and outcast, except that no accessory had that power over little Rhoda. Her heart was too pure, and her love too freely given. Even the popular 2nd-graders — the ones who habitually belittled their peers — could not resist her magnetism.

She just pulled them in with her love.

Despite this, Rhoda eluded the love of most adults — she bounced throughout the foster system, moving between guardians and residences as if invisible. When Christmas rolled around, she leveraged this quality and went shopping in the home where she currently lived. Since she had no sense of “mine” in her own life, she also had no sense of “yours” — in other words, she didn’t realize that filching household belongings was tantamount to stealing.

After weeks of scavenging, she came to class with a brown paper bag labeled “FO MS KLOSAMAN.” She beamed wide, buck-teeth practically waving hello. As I opened the bag, she added her hands and tore into the toilet-paper giftwrap.

A bottle of half-used perfume.

A tube of dried-out lotion.

An old Nokia cell phone.

We unfurled tubes of lipstick, arcade prizes, and more dried-out lotions until finally, I held an empty husk of a bag, and Rhoda beamed with a smile that proclaimed triumph over circumstance.

After she left the classroom, I contacted her guardian and discussed the matter. We agreed: There was no sense in reprimanding Rhoda. She had acted with a spotless conscience, demonstrating the unselfish love that in itself embodied the spirit of Christmas.