A gift.

9 Jun

His feet dangled a foot above the subway car floor and it was his cute shoes that I noticed first. Kind of brown suede wing-tipped loafers with ecru soles. Neat. And he was neatly dressed in a white button-down shirt and blue jeans with a little cuff at the bottom. He was chewing fruit chews out of a foil bag, calmly, not piggishly wolfing them down like an animal. Or two.


His father, dressed similarly and on the boy’s left, reached into a plastic bag and without ceremony handed his son a gift, wrapped in yellow gift-wrap and sporting a big blue bow. The boy put it on his lap until he finished his fruit chews. Then he calmly handed his father the emptied foil and set upon the present.


It was taped together like a father might tape a package. Altogether too much tape and sloppily with love. The boy was puzzled and approached the oddly shaped figure from nearly every angle until the father turned it over for him and pointed out the one loose flap. Had he left it there for the boy? I wondered. Then the father let his son figure out the rest for himself, watching patiently as his four-year-old’s stubby little fingers away pried at the yards of stubborn Scotch Tape.


Many stops came and went. They were in no hurry.


Hundreds of people came and went. No one penetrated their world, tucked away in the corner of the car.


Finally the top of the gift-wrap gave way and the boy pulled something blue from the yellow paper. I thought it was a shirt myself. I thought to myself the boy would not much care for a shirt. But as it emerged like a butterfly, it spread itself open to reveal a baby blue baseball cap with baby blue and white pinstripes on the underside of the bill and on the cap itself it read Donald in embroidered letters and as the boy spun it around the embroidered bill of Donald Duck himself came into view as did the rest of Donald’s pudgy ducky body, spinning around until the little boy found the velcro at the back to fit the cap to the size of his huge head sitting atop his little tiny body while I wondered myself how on earth do little boys know how velcro works in the first place?


It fit on the first try.


And the boy turned to the window to catch a glimpse of himself in its reflection. Then he quickly turned to his father and something like joy or safety or surprise or wherever one hides love in themselves came pouring out of every pore of him in an instant, and instantly the boy was wrapped around his father like a gift with flashes of dimples and blue and eyelashes and little tiny fingers. The embrace lasted a few seconds and eternally.


I was seated across from them the whole time. And I felt a little ashamed to have ‘eavesdropped’ on their moment. But when the father saw the tear that fell off my cheek, he said, “That’s my son.” And I said, “Yes. He is.” And I gave the boy a big boy thumb’s up, him ten feet taller in his new hat, and left them on the R Train going south at 49th Street.

11 Responses to “A gift.”

  1. Robert Gomes June 9, 2013 at 11:25 PM #

    Loved this.

    • NC Coot June 9, 2013 at 11:57 PM #

      The whole incident made me think of your film which I have not even seen but suspect hits a similar note. So thank you indeed.

  2. Irwin June 9, 2013 at 11:53 PM #

    How is it possible that you still don’t have a national publication syndication deal?

    • NC Coot June 10, 2013 at 12:00 AM #

      Anything you put together I’ll make sure you’re taken care of on the back end. 🙂

  3. Richard Humphrey June 10, 2013 at 12:38 PM #

    Hmm . . . the Coot is getting sentimental. Touching story, and I felt present.

    • NC Coot June 10, 2013 at 12:39 PM #

      Old age is a bitch, I’m finding…

  4. Joanna Underhill June 10, 2013 at 12:38 PM #


    • NC Coot June 10, 2013 at 12:40 PM #

      Love back.

  5. Dugutigui August 25, 2013 at 6:13 AM #

    Exquisite expression of exquisite expressions!

    • NC Coot August 25, 2013 at 11:32 PM #

      Thank you, D! I continue to love to read you and I’ve been following and enjoying your recent ‘pictorials’ enormously!


  1. Day 18: Blog Love | Between Roots and Wings - May 10, 2015

    […] And then, sometimes, he surprises you with something downright sweet, like this piece. […]

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