A Bag of Cookies
Early, the woman waited alone in the bustling airport. Her plane wasn’t scheduled to leave for several hours, so she meandered over to one of those over-priced, last-minute-gift-buying shops to get a book and something to nibble on. She took a seat in the VIP room. Nice. It was a respite from all the commotion; a deliverance from all the noise.
Beside her, where her bag of cookies lay open on the armchair, a man sat down, opened a magazine and started reading. The woman, playing with her phone, casually reached into the bag lying next to her and grabbed a cookie. Suddenly, the man with the magazine did the same! Irritated, the woman said nothing. “What nerve!” she condemned silently, holding back her tongue –luckily – lest she lash out with a piece of her mind.
For every cookie the woman took, the man did too. This ticked her off but she didn’t want to make a scene so she kept quiet. Finally, the last chocolaty morsel presented itself through the bag’s opening. She wondered what this shameless man would do next. At that very instant, the man lifted the bag, removed the last cookie, divided it in half and gave her one of the halves.
“Unbelievable!” she fumed inside her head, as she snatched up her belongings in a huff and stormed-off to the boarding area before she said something she would regret later. “That was just too much,” she continued, shaking her head, half-mumbling to herself in disgust, wondering how someone could be so crass.
After she cooled down a bit about the incident she decided to take a look at the book she bought earlier. She reached into her purse for her glasses. Fumbling through the contents of her bag, her hand landed on a smooth package that let out a crackle when she probed it.
“Hmm,” she wondered as she fondled the mystery package, trying to decipher its contents without looking. “What’s this?”
Finally she gave-up guessing and peeked in. She froze for a moment. A wave of heat gushed over her and she wondered if her face was red. Lifting her head just slightly, she looked around with only her eyes, as if she were certain everyone was staring and knew.
Taken aback, she eyed the bag of cookies. They were unopened, there, at the bottom of her purse. She felt ashamed. She realized how wrong she had been. Her cookies unopened meant only one thing: the man had shared his cookies with her! Cookie after cookie he shared. He did it with such kindness and cheerfulness, that it made her think she was the one doing the sharing.
She wiped a damp eye with the back of her hand as she felt the remorse in her stomach rise up slowly and lodge in her throat. She had been so indignant towards this stranger, inwardly condemning him for his brazen greed; his uncouthness. She had been so angry – repulsed even – when, actually, it was she, herself, who had been played the fool.
That kind man: the man who shared his bag of cookies with a total stranger: he only smiled. Now, here she was, alone with herself in the middle of a crowded airport with no chance…
No chance to explain…no chance to apologize.
Her plane was about to take off, she realized as the loudspeaker’s shrill voice whined at her.
What do you get from this story?