Even the smallest hand can hold a diamond

Even the smallest hand can hold a diamond

I recently attended a circus wedding. I mean a circus-themed wedding, not an “under the big top” wedding, although there was plenty of contrived shenanigans and enough clowning around that one might struggle to tell the difference between the two.

Near the tented entrance stood a table filled with curiosities of a circus bent, presented as a token of amusement to the guests. One can enthusiastically grab a Dudley Do-Right self-adhesive mustache or enjoy the taste of pure sugar candies. Or perhaps the more pragmatic guest (with December just around the corner) could opt for one of the red foam noses, making it doubly useful for Christmas. But it seemed like a risky temptation of fate for me to choose the mustache, as I had recently seen tiny hairs sprouting from my upper lip where there had been none. And while I’m easily tempted by candy, I admit to being somewhat of a cotton candy snob, believing that consuming it from a prepackaged bucket robs it of all the temptations of its fluffy purpose and gooey intentions. My lack of pragmatism (but to my credit, my knowledge of that lack) kept me from the red foam nose, as I would never be able to find it in my moment of need. It would surely reappear one day from behind a dresser or from under a pile of books while cleaning, probably around Easter, thus making it a moot point at the end of my nose.

I was about to exercise my uncharacteristic freedom to not choose, as I love a free gift, when I noticed something magically appear on the third of the three-ring center piece. Life-like, tiny human hands, each perched on a straw, were placed in a vase to represent a small bouquet of beige daffodils. There was a devilish beauty about them and I was instantly entertained. Without thinking or hesitating, I freed one from its previous arrangement and selected the finger puppet of a small human hand to accompany me throughout the evening.

Little Hand and I were not soon parted. In the weeks that followed, I often rolled down my shirt sleeve and placed the tiny hand on my finger to allow the life-like doll-sized version to do my bidding. I shared small, nickel-sized high fives with the energetic grocery boys loading my trunk. To relieve the monotony of bored waiters and waitresses, I tapped it on my cheek in restaurants as if trying to make a difficult menu decision. I sat in my car at traffic lights and stroked my chin with my little hand, offering my fellow drivers the view of someone contemplating the universe and giving them a funny story to share at the dinner table or between offices. All these small actions seemed to bring humor in some tiny way. And to think I had a hand in it.

I really liked the Lilliputian limb and its fleshy rubber fingers, each about the size of a matchstick—so much so, in fact, that I carried it around in my purse as a little phalanx talisman. Then one day I saw an opportunity to use my little hand to build a relationship with my teenage son. He and I were in the car together running errands, albeit a little begrudgingly on his part, and I could tell by the impatient nervous and waning conversation that he was getting tired of the process. Young people today have no stamina against the waves of boredom that constantly crash on the shores of everyday life, so I took quick action and made a rash decision, the same way I make so many – sound with good intentions and a complete lack of forethought. I did not spare a moment to consider how this action would be received. I was a fraud.

I pulled into the drive-thru of his favorite fast food place and he sat up straight with the excited expression of a dog hearing Kibbles fall into a bowl. We placed our order and I opened my purse to pull out my credit card. There sat the little hand and waved a friendly hello to me. Even small gestures deserve recognition.

I pulled down my sleeve, placed the miniature fleshy hand, doll-like, on my index finger, and slipped my credit card between her rubber knuckles. My son stared at me and with the teenage parsimony of words simply said “uh-uh, no way.” I interpreted this to mean – do it! I know the language of teenagers. With the whistle of the car window opening, I reached out to the unsuspecting clerk who was at the same time reaching out his window to collect my payment. He flinched and drew back thoughtfully, but after a brief pause he saw my thin hand now peeking out from the end of my covered fist and proceeded to remove my credit card from its puny grasp.

His ensuing laughter grew exponentially until it became what one in this environment could only describe as “big”, and the humiliation mixed with fascination emanating from my son was as satisfying as applause for a comedian. Comedy need not be a market produced and consumed solely by the young; we adults can be wickedly quirky.

The clerk, still captivated by the folly, returned my card, being so careful as to slip it between the lithe fingers of the little hand. As he delivered our stir-fry, he announced that the laughs were worth more than the food and so it would be “On Me” – which I mistakenly took to mean the joke, not the food. I left with a light hand, a miniature greeting, and a polite “Thank you.”

As I backed away, my son looked at the receipt and announced, “Damn, Dang…it was free, seriously!” to show that our meal was indeed provided for free. I was surprised, flattered, and touched that my whimsical act led to such gut-filling happiness—twice as I watched my teenager eat a dozen chicken nuggets, empty a carton of fries, and wash the entire pack down with a liter of soda. So who says you can’t feed a family with laughter. Talk about a happy meal.

Moments later at an office supply store, searching for the perfect fine-tip marker, the fast food clerk’s previous act of kindness and generosity still permeated the air like a perfume aura. I could not shake off this happy fog within me, nor did I try; I got stuck in it. However, it will not be fully experienced (even after receiving the perfect fine tip marker) until it is fully acknowledged. This act of kindness called for revenge of the smartest kind.

Fat and happy, my teenager wanted to go home at this high point of the day, but I pushed him to his limits by saying, “But wait, there’s more,” and he slumped back into the seat. “Need gas… fuel, petrol” to which there is no response. I stopped at the stop and parked, not near the pump, but near the door. He made no move to unbuckle his seat belt, indicating his intention to wait in the car. Once again I used my mother’s lube to break him out of his own stubbornness. “I’ll get you some ice cream, big baby.” He gets out of the car and, as he’s been taught, holds the door as we walk into the store together.

As the friendly, young cashier rang for the ice cream, I asked her for the one and only item I went in for. “What type of lottery ticket would you like?” was all she said before a barrage of questions and recommendations were fired from the helpful crowd of strangers in the store. I naively didn’t know this request would come with options or trigger such help. “I want a random one for the next million dollar thing.” And then I added, “Wait. I need two.” I turned to the ice cream eater and said, “One will be for us.”

Walking back into the fast food place and passing the scream box, I stopped at the window. The same employee was still there. He rolled down his window, looking confused as I hadn’t placed an order. This time he saw a lottery ticket folded charmingly in the small hand and firmly wedged between fleshy fingers. “This is for you,” I said. He took the ticket and looked at it with a mixture of surprise and confusion. I continued, “This is the Lucky for Life ticket. The drawing is tonight at eleven. What you did before was very generous and now I’m paying it forward and also backwards I guess. I hope you win a bazillion dollars, and when you do, I hope you do a lot of good things for a lot of people. Have a great day.” I peeled away, leaving the plastic tag on his shirt still unread.

The silence in the car lasted for three traffic lights before my teenager spoke up, “If we win, I get half, right?” he asked between licks.

I slap my small hand against my wrinkled forehead, “Eureka!” I said to my son who was busy stuffing the ice cream into his pie hole. “Even better than that,” I said, “I’ll double your investment, which is…oh wait…you failed to invest, so no. You’ll get it, you won’t.” I burst out laughing, and even though he was trying so hard to look unfazed, I could see the invisible smile on his face.

He shook his head and mumbled through the mush in his mouth, “That was cool, Mom. I wish I had gotten it on Snapchat.”

The next day, the headline in the paper read FAST FOOD WORKER WINS LOTTERY. The story that followed: an anonymous, petite, elderly woman donates a lottery ticket to a fast-food employee who wins BIG. Mr. Lucas Petitmain, in honor of his wounded warrior brother, plans to create a foundation to provide bionic limbs to those in need.

Well, at least it’s nice to think about… what could have been.

#smallest #hand #hold #diamond

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