“Hurry up and wait” isn’t just a sarcastic Army slogan. We do it often when going to doctors’ offices, and for our Sisters, it seems like it is the standard practice at the podiatrist’s office. So I was not surprised to be sitting and sitting while the Sister I had taken there was back in the treatment area.
The waiting room is the length of a train car, and it is narrow. So those in the waiting area sit facing each other with about four feet from knee to knee. I was across from the receptionist, and a young man she’d addressed as Timothy was discussing payment options with her. When it was settled and he walked toward the other end of the room, I noticed that his gait was awkward, like someone with cerebral palsy. He sat down opposite me and watched as I crocheted a top on a towel.
“What are you making?” he asked. I held it up and replied, “One of those towels you can hang from a knob or a handle on a cupboard.
“Oh, that’s pretty!” he exclaimed. Then he was called to the treatment area, leaving his jacket next to another young man and an older man I presumed was their driver.
It occurred to me that I could hide the finished towel inside his coat, so I hurried to finish it and tucked it into his jacket, cautioning the other young man, “You didn’t see anything.” He nodded solemnly.
I returned to my seat and began reading a magazine, hoping to get out of there before he returned, but no such luck. He came out and picked up his jacket. Out fell the towel I’d rolled up and tied with red yarn. He picked it up and showed it to the others, a big question mark on his face. “That lady (pointing to me) put it there,” said his companion. So Timothy walked it back to me and held it out. “It’s for you,” I explained. “It’s Christmas, it’s a present.” His face lit up and he hurried back to the others, exclaiming, “It’s for us! We can keep it! It’s a Christmas present for us!”
Maybe he doesn’t get many gifts, although he seemed well dressed and well groomed. Maybe it was the surprise element that delighted him. Whatever, I was delighted by his reaction and later, walking to the darkened parking garage to retrieve the car, it occurred to me that he had repeatedly said, “…for us…we can keep it!” Not “…for me…I can keep it!”
What a rare treasure Timothy turned out to be, so in union with his living companions that there seemed nothing self-centered in his view of my simple gift. He gave me a much richer gift, and I’m still cherishing it—and him.