Once upon a time there was a girl with a sweater.
The sweater was technicolor, full of threads woven from the colors of bright Mexican blossoms and lemons and limes. When she wore it, this sweater made her feel as though she was in a constant hug.
One day, she visited her favorite city spot, the Urth Cafe, in search of a study nook and a Green Tea latte. To these ends, she was successful, though she was unaware that she soon would lose the warm friend that had joined her on the journey.
As she ordered her blended green tea treat, she noticed envious eyes crawling upon her favorite sweater.
“Where did you get your sweater,” asked the cashier, with a twinkle in his eye.
“Olvera Street. They sell them like churros,” the girl replied, wishing very much she had a churro at that moment.
“It’s wonderful,” said the boy. “Can I have it?”
The girl looked down at her sweater, rather surprised, and then back at the boy behind the register. She saw the sweater-lust squinting out of his face, and knew that she could not deprive him of such joy, especially with such a simple and silly sweater.
“Well, I suppose,” said the girl. “But I have nothing underneath this sweater, so I will need to trade it for your shirt.”
“Why, surely,” said the boy, peeling off his rare, cannot-be-purchased Urth Cafe T-shirt, which the girl was actually quite happy to take. The girl quickly excused herself to make the change, and returned with sweater in hand, a gift for a very happy young cashier. The girl was sad to lose her favorite sweater, but glad that she had given joy in an unexpected moment.
Months later, after the technicolor sweater had been long forgotten, the girl was at Church. Sitting in front of her was a young man in a glorious blue knit sweater. The most important piece of this sweater, were the brown suede elbow pads, for which the girl has always had an enormous crush. There was something about the old-and-wise-man feel of elbow pads that gave the girl a kind of fatherly comfort. The girl admired the sweater all morning.
That night, the girl and her friends went to see some live music under the bright lights of the Hollywood sign. At the concert, she happened to see that same man wearing the blue sweater. Unable to walk away from coincidence, she approached the man, and told him how wonderful she thought the sweater was and how she had been thinking of it since that morning in church, spilling her pleasure with childlike glee. The man laughed and thanked her.
“Here, take it,” the man said, peeling off the blue sweater and handing it to her.
The girl let out a shout of surprise and shook her head. It was an expensive sweater and the girl could not accept such a gift from a stranger.
“No please,” said the man. “Winter’s over anyway, I don’t need it anymore.”
It was early January.
The man insisted on the gift, and the girl had no choice but to thank him profusely, and marvel at the kindness of a stranger.
The memory of the technicolor coat came rushing back to the girl, as she tried on the blue sweater for the first time. Perhaps kindness has a way of coming back to find you, in the end.
This is now the girl’s favorite sweater. She wears it constantly.
And it always feels like a hug.
(Photo Credit: Benny Haddad, http://bennyhaddad.com/)