Souvenirs and Adults’ Concern

One summer day when I was six, three of my mother’s college friends came to visit us in our tiny half-dilapidated apartment. As far as I remembered, it was my first time to meet them in my life. As they arrived and seated themselves on the tiny couch, I sat on the floor nearby with a toy in my hand, curious to know what kind of people they were.

While my mother prepared tea for all of us, her friends said that they had brought gifts for me.

“For me?” I hadn’t expected to receive gifts from our guests, who were more like strangers to me, but the idea of a gift always excited me. I started jumping.

The first person gave me a small pink wooden basket with a lid, on which a beautiful flower bouquet was painted.

“Wow,” I exclaimed as I took the basket in my hands. “I’ve never had a basket before!”

Completely mesmerized by the gift, I sat on the floor again, opening and closing the lid of my beautiful new basket. Then I noticed that the other two guests started shifting their bodies uncomfortably.

“Look at that!” One of them whispered to the other. “We should have given our gift first. She would be disappointed to see ours after that gorgeous gift!”

Such cryptic whispers on the side made me anxious. I looked up.

“Is anything wrong?”

“No, no, nothing is wrong, my dear,” said the two guests, quickly shaking their heads. “That basket is amazing, isn’t it?”

“Yes!” I replied with a smile, then turned to the wrapped box sitting on one of the women’s lap.

“Oh, this one is from us!” Noticing my gaze, the woman handed the box to me. She somehow looked embarrassed, and I wondered if there was anything embarrassing about handing a gift to me. I received it carefully and sat on the floor to open it. Then I heard the whispers again.

“I wonder what she’ll think of it?” One of them said to the other.

“I don’t know – but we’ll see!” The other replied.

I stopped in the middle of my motion and looked up, anxiously examining the two women who gave me the box. Noticing my gaze, they both quickly smiled at me.

“Open it, my dear. We hope you’ll like it!”

Seeing that they were fine, I resumed unwrapping the gift. And what came out of the wrapping paper was a green tin of different kinds of biscuits.

“Wow,” I exclaimed, opening the tin and looking at the collection of delicious-looking biscuits. “Thank you!”

“It’s not as special as the basket,” said one of the two women quickly and almost apologetically.

“But we hope you like it,” the other one added.

“I like it!!” I shouted and brought the two gifts to the kitchen to show them to my mother.

My mother told me to thank the guests properly, so I did. The two women who gave me the tin of biscuits still looked embarrassed. I wanted to console them, but since I really didn’t understand what they were so upset about, I couldn’t say anything. To the eyes of the six year old, the two gifts were equally special and the basket and the tin became part of her treasure collection.