costume jewelry

yinyangnecklace.jpg

she flew all the way across country
to see her son star in a show.
on the way to the theatre, they stopped for a pre-show dinner
in the famous los angeles eating establishment called
subway.

she ordered a 6” turkey on white.

~~~

the man who wheeled everything he owned
in the grocery store cart
came just inside the door
and called out
“hey,” flailing his arm in her direction
ambling towards her table.

~~~

the boy had gone to get some tea
at the self-serve drink machine
in the back of the restaurant.

~~~

the scraggly stranger
beckoned louder as he approached.
and when she could no longer make him invisible,
she looked up
to find her boy standing between
her and the stranger.
“you want something?” the boy asked,
making himself as large as possible.

~~~

“i just wanted to tell her something,”
the man said
looking around the boy
and speaking to her as though nobody else existed.
“i like your necklace,” he said.
“what?” she asked, stunned.
“i think that’s a very pretty necklace – I like it – and I just wanted you to know.”
then he was gone,
pushing his world
through parking lots and along sidewalks,
near large plate glass windows,
lingering on small, seemingly inconsequential things,
taking the time to let a stranger know
she’d been seen.

43 Comments

  1. Dian Reid

    isn’t it strange how we are surprised when someone wants to say something nice instead of take advantage of us. and still, i can’t help but warn myself to not be naive…

    beautiful post, friend.
    .-= Dian Reid´s last blog ..Five-For-Five Adventure =-.

    • wholly jeanne

      i believe that there are more good people than there are bad, and i believe that for the most part, people will live up to your expectations of them. i think this experience was a mirror for me, pointing out that despite the fact that i abhor stereotypes and rail long and loudly against them, i harbor some myself.

  2. Dian Reid

    isn’t it strange how we are surprised when someone wants to say something nice instead of take advantage of us. and still, i can’t help but warn myself to not be naive…

    beautiful post, friend.
    .-= Dian Reid´s last blog ..Five-For-Five Adventure =-.

    • wholly jeanne

      i believe that there are more good people than there are bad, and i believe that for the most part, people will live up to your expectations of them. i think this experience was a mirror for me, pointing out that despite the fact that i abhor stereotypes and rail long and loudly against them, i harbor some myself.

  3. Square-Peg Karen

    like Dian said – the surprise — and trying not to be naive — quite a couple strands to try to blend together. Beautiful that you DID open up to take the compliment in and also beautiful that the lad blended caring about your protection and allowing the guy to get the compliment out.
    .-= Square-Peg Karen´s last blog ..Be Inspired Be Encouraged Be You =-.

  4. Square-Peg Karen

    like Dian said – the surprise — and trying not to be naive — quite a couple strands to try to blend together. Beautiful that you DID open up to take the compliment in and also beautiful that the lad blended caring about your protection and allowing the guy to get the compliment out.
    .-= Square-Peg Karen´s last blog ..Be Inspired Be Encouraged Be You =-.

    • wholly jeanne

      thanks, karen. very nicely said.

  5. shoreacres

    Lovely experience, lovely words ~ especially the surprise at the end.

    One of my small hobbies is saying something personal to the checkers at groceries or Target. It’s so much fun to see them turn back into human beings for a moment!

    • wholly jeanne

      i love doing that, too. appealing to the best in someone usually helps them find and share the best. you see them; they see you. nice when that happens.

  6. shoreacres

    Lovely experience, lovely words ~ especially the surprise at the end.

    One of my small hobbies is saying something personal to the checkers at groceries or Target. It’s so much fun to see them turn back into human beings for a moment!

    • wholly jeanne

      i love doing that, too. appealing to the best in someone usually helps them find and share the best. you see them; they see you. nice when that happens.

  7. Acey

    Having been around long enough to remember the first time you began this story – but forgot to title it Part One – I have been stuck on the turkey sandwich all this time. Long term veganism does not prevent me from missing turkey and also a nice piece of grilled salmon. Nonetheless the point is that I, like the other commenters, was delighted by the turn the story took at its conclusion. On deeper reflection it seems only natural to me that a “scraggly stranger” would be one of the first individuals to realize what it’s like to go unseen or deliberately overlooked. And thus make a point of not doing as much to another person even if the unlikely pair of them clearly moved in different circles. I myself would prefer an honest homeless person’s compliment over motion-making niceties from a well-heeled type any day of the week.
    .-= Acey´s last blog ..Tuesday Details =-.

    • wholly jeanne

      acey, i love you. i really do. your keen insight and observation never fails to soothe and calm the deepest, uneasy part of me. and your last sentence – about your preference – me, too.

  8. Jennifer Prentice

    Jeanne,
    This is a lovely piece of prose and a great reminder for all of us that no matter what our circumstances in life, we all share the basic human rights of being seen–AND HEARD. I volunteer (along with some of my co-workers) to serve breakfast once a month at a local homeless shelter, and quite honestly, sitting down and talking to the people there means more to them than the breakfast we serve.
    Thank you for this post.

    • wholly jeanne

      hey sugar. i agree with you wholeheartedly: we all, regardless of our station in life, have a need, a yearning to be seen and heard. xo

  9. Jennifer Prentice

    Jeanne,
    This is a lovely piece of prose and a great reminder for all of us that no matter what our circumstances in life, we all share the basic human rights of being seen–AND HEARD. I volunteer (along with some of my co-workers) to serve breakfast once a month at a local homeless shelter, and quite honestly, sitting down and talking to the people there means more to them than the breakfast we serve.
    Thank you for this post.

    • wholly jeanne

      hey sugar. i agree with you wholeheartedly: we all, regardless of our station in life, have a need, a yearning to be seen and heard. xo

  10. Laura Hegfield

    such a beautiful story. people just want to connect to other people. heart to heart. clearly this man touched yours.
    .-= Laura Hegfield´s last blog ..Happy Place =-.

    • wholly jeanne

      laura, thank you for stopping by my blog and for your thoughtful, affirming comment. you nailed what is, for me, the reason for telling this story – even though my part in the story is rather embarrassing. i just visited your blog, an was delighted to see a piece that i read about on another blog earlier today. the name of the blog and its author escapes me right now, but i remember that piece and how she saw it on your blog and asked permission to use some of your words. i felt immediately at home at your place, and i look forward to spending more time there. nice to meet you.

  11. Laura Hegfield

    such a beautiful story. people just want to connect to other people. heart to heart. clearly this man touched yours.
    .-= Laura Hegfield´s last blog ..Happy Place =-.

    • wholly jeanne

      laura, thank you for stopping by my blog and for your thoughtful, affirming comment. you nailed what is, for me, the reason for telling this story – even though my part in the story is rather embarrassing. i just visited your blog, an was delighted to see a piece that i read about on another blog earlier today. the name of the blog and its author escapes me right now, but i remember that piece and how she saw it on your blog and asked permission to use some of your words. i felt immediately at home at your place, and i look forward to spending more time there. nice to meet you.

  12. Acey

    Having been around long enough to remember the first time you began this story – but forgot to title it Part One – I have been stuck on the turkey sandwich all this time. Long term veganism does not prevent me from missing turkey and also a nice piece of grilled salmon. Nonetheless the point is that I, like the other commenters, was delighted by the turn the story took at its conclusion. On deeper reflection it seems only natural to me that a “scraggly stranger” would be one of the first individuals to realize what it’s like to go unseen or deliberately overlooked. And thus make a point of not doing as much to another person even if the unlikely pair of them clearly moved in different circles. I myself would prefer an honest homeless person’s compliment over motion-making niceties from a well-heeled type any day of the week.
    .-= Acey´s last blog ..Tuesday Details =-.

    • wholly jeanne

      acey, i love you. i really do. your keen insight and observation never fails to soothe and calm the deepest, uneasy part of me. and your last sentence – about your preference – me, too.

  13. emma

    Such a beautiful story, Jeanne, especially with the twist that I wish I hadn’t been so surprised by – my prejudices, judgements and assumptions rearing their ugly heads. A great and necessary reminder of humanity, the joys of being seen. Such a blessing that you both truly saw each other. And I agree with the man – it is a beautiful necklace.
    .-= emma´s last blog ..Blooming Mondays: February 01, 2010 =-.

    • whollyjeanne

      thanks, emma. the thing is that’s just cheap costume jewelry. got it off the sales rack at chico’s and had a coupon, too. you just never know.
      .-= whollyjeanne´s last blog ..costume jewelry =-.

  14. emma

    Such a beautiful story, Jeanne, especially with the twist that I wish I hadn’t been so surprised by – my prejudices, judgements and assumptions rearing their ugly heads. A great and necessary reminder of humanity, the joys of being seen. Such a blessing that you both truly saw each other. And I agree with the man – it is a beautiful necklace.
    .-= emma´s last blog ..Blooming Mondays: February 01, 2010 =-.

    • whollyjeanne

      thanks, emma. the thing is that’s just cheap costume jewelry. got it off the sales rack at chico’s and had a coupon, too. you just never know.
      .-= whollyjeanne´s last blog ..costume jewelry =-.

  15. Molly

    Love this. So simple, yet more.
    .-= Molly´s last blog ..what to expect =-.

    • whollyjeanne

      hey molly! thanks for dropping by. i hope you are LOVING your new job. want to hear more about it when you’ve time.
      .-= whollyjeanne´s last blog ..costume jewelry =-.

  16. Molly

    Love this. So simple, yet more.
    .-= Molly´s last blog ..what to expect =-.

    • whollyjeanne

      hey molly! thanks for dropping by. i hope you are LOVING your new job. want to hear more about it when you’ve time.
      .-= whollyjeanne´s last blog ..costume jewelry =-.

  17. Kristen @ Motherese

    Truly being seen – whether by a stranger or by a person close to us – is often stunning, isn’t it? Of course, nothing is more stunning than seeing yourself. And I think that you get at the heart of that here: not only are you seen by the scraggly stranger, you see yourself as well: the assumptions and presumptions that you had and then reshuffle after this encounter. Lovely, complex piece.
    .-= Kristen @ Motherese´s last blog ..Losing My Religion; Finding My Faith =-.

  18. Kristen @ Motherese

    Truly being seen – whether by a stranger or by a person close to us – is often stunning, isn’t it? Of course, nothing is more stunning than seeing yourself. And I think that you get at the heart of that here: not only are you seen by the scraggly stranger, you see yourself as well: the assumptions and presumptions that you had and then reshuffle after this encounter. Lovely, complex piece.
    .-= Kristen @ Motherese´s last blog ..Losing My Religion; Finding My Faith =-.

  19. bwlight

    To echo Kristen , it IS a lovely complex piece.

    There are few blogs where I struggle to comment. It’s because there’s always so much there when you write. This is a quick and easy first read. Then, there’s just so much packed in there! It’s deceiving. In the good way.
    .-= bwlight´s last blog ..Improved Polls and Ratings =-.

  20. bwlight

    To echo Kristen , it IS a lovely complex piece.

    There are few blogs where I struggle to comment. It’s because there’s always so much there when you write. This is a quick and easy first read. Then, there’s just so much packed in there! It’s deceiving. In the good way.
    .-= bwlight´s last blog ..Improved Polls and Ratings =-.

  21. angela

    Jeanne, I am late to the party but this is a fabulous poem. Here’s to more Jeanne seen.
    .-= angela´s last blog ..book 2 of 24 books in 28 days: the year of magical thinking =-.

  22. angela

    Jeanne, I am late to the party but this is a fabulous poem. Here’s to more Jeanne seen.
    .-= angela´s last blog ..book 2 of 24 books in 28 days: the year of magical thinking =-.

  23. Kathy

    simply gorgeous

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