Swapping Stuff

I’m walking to the co-op in the late afternoon and stop when I see a boy heading towards me. He’s maybe ten or twelve, and he stops and dutifully pulls up his mask.

I don’t know him by name, only by sight, and I know he’s always diligent about that mask. It’s cold, but not so cold as the past few days, and the sky is the twilight blue that reminds me of distant seas.

As he passes, I nod, and then I realize he’s wearing a hat I knitted with a coppery gold yarn. A friend had asked me to donate knitting to a local hat drive. I look back at him and watch that boy and hat disappear around the hillside.

Almost immediately, I realize I’m wearing a down jacket that I gleaned from the local cast-off closet at work. Someone had donated three down coats so brand-new the material slid beneath my fingers. I took all three, for my daughters and myself.

There’s likely a lesson there, but who cares, really? I tug the collar higher against the cold and hurry along the street.

By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

10 comments

  1. That coppery gold yarn is what Wendell Berry would treasure Brett. Your heart knows and sees a community member wearing your threads…and that young boy knows your face but it will be a couple decades before he senses its significance as he perhaps loses sight of it. Those “golden threads”- pun intended- are what sees us through the hard times and hopefully and eventually, become part of the sacred. Just had to say it. GT

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