One of my earliest memories as I remember it. I decided to be a little more sentimental this week. Hope you like it.
There’s a boy who lives across the street in a white-brick house. He’s my best friend and I’m four years old. I don’t remember his name now, but I remember playing in his basement with a toy that you could sit and spin on and riding bikes down our street together.
One day, he told me he was going to the mountains for a week. I didn’t know where “the mountains” were, but they seemed far away. I had no idea how long a week was, but it sounded like a very long time.
I asked my mom every day if it had been a week yet. It seemed like she always said no. And no matter how much I asked, the answer was still no. She thought it was cute at first that I missed him, but she got tired of answering my question over and over. I almost felt like he would get home sooner if I asked just one more time if it had been a week yet.
He finally did come home. I was so surprised when my mom finally said yes when I asked her yet again if it had been a week yet. Fully expecting him to get home that instant, I waited at the window all day until their car pulled into their driveway. And then I had to wait for him to come outside.
When he did come outside, we stood on the corner across the street from my house on his side of the road. Across from us is a house with a nice yard surrounded by a wrought iron fence and filled with pretty flowers that you can’t touch. Kiddy-corner from us is a house with no fence, a yard full of weeds, and mean dogs on chains that I run by as fast as I can whenever I pass it on the sidewalk. On the corner on my side of the street is the Black Dog’s house, but they have a fence. From the corner we’re standing on, you can see the blue, jaggedy Wasatch Mountains in the background. There are two vertical, parallel ridges on the tallest mountain that look like a great big slide. I always wondered, if I was big enough, if I could slide right down the mountain. The mountain reminds me of home because you can only see the slide from where we live. If you go any farther north or south, the slide disappears.
“I brought you a present,” he says.
“What is it?,” I say a little cautiously. He’s not holding anything and I don’t want him to tease me.
“It’s a purple rock,” he says.
With all my 4 year-old indignation I inform him that, “There’s no such thing as a purple rock.”
“Yes there is.”
“No there isn’t.”
“Yes there is.”
“No there isn’t.”
“Then how do I have one?”
He’s got me stumped. Then a thought hits me. “How do I know you have one? I haven’t seen it.”
“I’ll give it to you, then.”
I still don’t believe he has it, but I put my hand out anyway waiting for him to give it to me.
“You have to close your eyes.”
I give an impatient sigh and close my eyes. He better not be teasing me or he is going to be in big trouble.
I feel the rock in my palm and I open my eyes. My first reaction is that the rock is white, and not purple, but underneath the white I can see beautiful lilac flecks. It sparkles a little in the sun. It’s the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen. Rocks are brown and grey. I’ve never found one that was purple.
“Did you find this?,” I ask earnestly. This is suddenly very important to me.
“Yes. I found it in the mountains.”
Him finding it makes it all the more valuable to me. Somehow, it makes it a real rock because it came from outside and that made it rare and hard to find. It also said to me that he missed me as much as I missed him. And when he found something so unique and amazing he gave it to me instead of keeping it for himself.
To me, the gift was more than just a rock. Looking at it, I felt wonder growing inside of me, blooming like little flowers. It felt like magic to get something you didn’t think was real. Even staring at it, it almost felt like it wasn’t real. Magic exists for a small moment when the way we see the world changes.
He moved away soon after that. I wish he hadn’t moved when I was so young so I could at least remember his name. But that rock continues to be one of my most prized possessions.
Yes. I still have it.
You think you know everything there is to know about this world full of brown and grey rocks until life gives you a purple one. Those are the best kind of gifts.