It was sunny when you left home, so you didn’t take an umbrella. An hour later, you’re caught in a torrential downpour. You run into the first store you can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of old artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet you. Tell us what happens next!
I take one look around and am immediately captivated by what I see. Chinese vases with fiery dragons enveloped around them, statues of the pharoahs in black stone, Turkish lamps with colored glass, decorations carved out in marble and copper and curious pieces of jewelry, all beckon to me.
“Hello!” I say to the proprietor to which he gives a grunt and a toothless smile.
“How much is that for?” I ask, pointing to the Chinese vase. When my husband went to China I asked him to bring me a vase and he brought something which looked more African than Chinese, not that I have anything against African vases, but I wanted a Chinese looking Chinese vase.
“It’s not for sale. Nothing is.”
“But I don’t understand..”
“These things are collections from my travels. I have no family and I don’t know how many years I have left. I just want to make sure they go to someone who will take care of them. I don’t need the money, I have enough to buy food.”
“So you’re just giving them away?”
“Yes.” He takes down the Chinese vase, wraps it in brown paper and hands it to me. I hesitate, but he pushes the vase into my hand.
As I walk out of the store I take special note of the address. As soon as I get home I write out a check and mail it.
A few days later the check is returned to me. It has “Address Unknown” stamped across it.