Are you actually going to come back?
A ten year old boy, standing behind a table stacked with rings and necklaces made out of copper, selling them (or trying) to the people of Portland, Maine who gave him a minute or two to explain how he made them.
BA and I just finished lunch and we decided to walk around to check out what the scene had to offer. I grew up going to Maine for the summers, and I never once stepped foot in Portland until last year, and it’s only 20 minutes from my family’s place. I will say I regret that, because we ended up in a store with books I’ve never heard of and homemade soap wrapped in extremely eye appealing paper. Yes, we bought both. Would you expect anything less? Yes, we will be back often.
Then, we ended up in front of the ten year old boy. I couldn’t help but stop, considering he was almost begging for a customer with his eyes. I felt the need to let him explain, to let him spill all the details on his newly designed jewelry.
I make them with my grandfather, he’s right over there. It’s copper, or gold, I forget which one, and we melt it with this really hot thing and then we get to shape it into jewelry! This one is small, but I thought it would be a good pinky ring.
His eyes were glowing as he explained his hard work and dedication to what seemed to be his only customers of the day. People walked by, some looked for a second, some too busy on their phones to even sneak a peek, some not having the time of day to bother. Some, like BA and I, stopped and listened. Some, as the kid explained, said they needed to go get cash out and then never came back.
I asked him, before he could question my future appearance at his street shop.
The rings are all $10, and the necklace is $15. Are you actually going to come back?
I knew I was going to come back, just by the way he asked.
The thing is, people don’t go back because they see it as a waste of money, a waste of time, something they will never wear. The kid will grow, the kid will forget, the kid will learn. They have more things to do, places to be, people to see. But in that very moment, that puppy dog eyes with a desperate need for a sale moment, I saw something in him. It was a Saturday afternoon and he was spending it showcasing his new line of work. He was spending it getting denied, getting lied to, and getting walked by with no attention thrown at him at all.
He, that ten year old boy, was spending his Saturday afternoon doing something he loved to do. Whether people enjoyed it or not.
We searched for an ATM that would work, going a few minutes over or estimated arrival time back at the table. He was sitting there, in the same chair he made himself comfortable in all morning long, still watching the unamused humans walk by him.
Then he saw us, popping up from his chair with the ring I picked out still in his hand, holding it so no one else could buy it before me.
$10 dollars for this one!
He placed the ring that turned my pinky green onto my finger, and I handed him $25 dollars.
You can keep it.
He stopped for a few seconds to count the money, then stared at me with a smile I’ve never seen anything like before.
Are you sure? I can really keep it? Ok! Thank you!
Running over to his grandfather to spill the good news, I watched the smile stick to his face like glue. It didn’t budge in the slightest bit.
The little things, the little loves. Like making a ten year olds day instead of being consumed by the world we live in, eyes staring deep into a phone screen, legs moving fast, rushing to somewhere we don’t need to rush to.
The little loves in life. Slowing down. Staring at your green pinky, undone nails, and someone else’s smile.
How are you guys? I hope you’re slowing down, as hard as it is to do. xx