A Lamp Remembering How to Glow Again

I sit in a group of four people I’ve only just met.

We are at a conference, hashing through the morning’s material in small groups.

Can we do names? a woman in our group says. And, I don’t know, what’s your favorite fruit?

Easy! I say. I’m Caitie. Fuji apple. I pause. Well, really it’s a Red Delicious apple. Most people don’t like them. No problem, that means more for me.

The group nods. “Interesting,” a few murmur.

The day continues. The material is thick and compelling; it asks more of me from more parts of me than I am used to giving.

Box lunches arrive. Mine has a chicken sandwich and an orange.

Caitie! It’s the woman from my small group who asked for names and fruits. She passes me the Red Delicious apple from her boxed lunch. And I get a unexpected, sweet surge, like stepping on moss when you expected pavement.

Ah! Thank you! I say. I pass her my orange. I head into the day’s second half soft and restored, a lamp remembering how to glow again.

And it’s a simple bit of human math that a moment of thoughtfulness can wash a whole afternoon through with tenderness.

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