September 06, 2010

Three One Dollar Bills.

The other day I looked into my box.

Yes, I have one of those secret boxes. A treasure box if you will, where I keep sentimental memories. These include souvenirs from memorable trips, notes, cards or letters from old lovers and other small mementoes given to me by special people, who touched my life in one way or another. The box also houses old diaries, quotes and poems I have written down as a young girl as they spoke to me in an unusual way. Overall it contains items that connect me to unforgettable moments in time, which are locked within their shape, texture or scent.

I do not look into my box very often. When I eventually do, it is on those rare occasions when something is being added to it. And then I can not help but look through the contents once again, as I have done numerous times in the past, surrendering completely to sentimental feelings that overtake me and allowing myself that bittersweet sensation of traveling back in time, recollecting emotions and people I once knew.

The other day I added something into my box and in the process of remembering my past I stumbled upon three one dollar bills. They brought a smile to my face, as I recalled with a sting of melancholy the boy that once gave these bills to me, those twenty years ago - perhaps exactly to date.

I was young, in my early twenties and traveling in southern Spain one late summer. I was having the time of my life, spending carefree weeks in the company of my best friend, with whom I keep in touch even today. When I see her, which happens every few years only, our reminiscing eventually always brings us to a fond recollection of our only summer trip.

The sea and the sun and the concentration of youth is a peculiar mixture. The weeks were one big party it seems today, when we slept under palm trees during the day and frequented bars and discotheques in the night, until the wee hours of the mornings.
I felt young and beautiful and as such I was admired by the opposite gender. I never danced alone and I always had someone to buy me a drink. I recall one evening meeting a handsome boy, the center of everyones attention, gaining mine quiet easily. His tall posture, muscular body and blond locks could make any girl week in her knees - and I was no exception. Soon I only had eyes for him, paying very little attention to his plain friend, who failed to capture my interest, but whose interest I captured in return. I did not give him the time of the day, ignoring him completely, as he was not handsome and I was foolishly shallow.

Admitting eventually his defeat, one day he approached me and as he gazed at me with his intelligent eyes, he handed me three one dollar bills with these words: "My mother always told me, that any kind of trouble can be solved with three one dollar bills. Please keep these as a souvenir - if you are ever in trouble, I hope they can be of help." I remember this as clearly as if it was yesterday, accepting the bills with a slight surprise, managing to utter a weak "thank you". He nodded gently and then left me standing there in silence, as I watched him walk away, never to lay my eyes on him again.

Today I pity my young self, who failed to see the potential in this young mans behavior and conduct. It was not until a few years later that I realized the true meaning of the gift I was once given on a sun drenched beach by a plain boy. Even though somewhere deep within I must have realized the value almost instantly, as the bills were saved in my box, where they have remained until today.

I can no longer recall his face, or voice, nor his name, I am ashamed to say. But I will always recall the day when he taught me how to distinguish between beautiful eyes and eyes filled with the beauty of kindness, intellect and integrity and how to never choose the value of beauty over the value of substance.


Elizabeth said...

What a great memory although bittersweet in retrospect.

Have a fantastic day, the sun is shining brightly on Als.

xoxo Elizabeth

S. Susan Deborah said...

Zuzana, my my! Now I have to call you wild wild Zuzana! It was lovely to read this post. Along with you, we also travelled back in time and witnessed your adventurous stories. Memories are weird, you know. They bring us so many feelings at different times. The same trunk will give you another memory another time.

I wonder if that boy will get to read this post some day. I wonder how that will be. Zuzana, you look gorgeous then and now. A rare jewel, I must say.

"Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be."

Joy always,

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Lovely. I wish you (we!) knew what became of the boy. One of life's treasures.

Brian Miller said...

sounds like he made quite the impression on you...and knowing the hopeful romantic in you, i know that it stuck...i like the box...we have one of those ourselves...i got it from my mom who has a box of mine she kept through the years and will one day give me...thanks for sharing those memories with us...

Sumandebray said...

That was a wonderful post with a confession... liked it.
Yes .. we do not often realize that beauty is only "Skin Deep". It is the inner beauty that makes the person truly beautiful and one has to be blessed to be around with one such person!

Laura said...

"Overall it contains items that connect me to unforgettable moments in time, which are locked within their shape, texture or scent." This sentence caught my attention immediately Zuzana, and then I read on. I think many of us have had such experiences as this...not seeing the depth of beauty of another human being (especially when we were young)...and though it could certainly be seen as a loss for the opportunity to have connected...we can also see it as a message from an angel we are meant to understand later, when our hearts are matured and ready. I think this young man was such an angel...he knew you were not ready then, but that someday you would be open to loving the depth and not simply the surface of others. What a treasure he gave you, those dollar bills touchstone reminders to look deeper. Your heart has grown into his prediction.

Kath said...

What a lovely post, I did enjoy reading this. I loved the photo of yourself anf your lovely friend too, how sun-kissed you both look!
Reading this charming recollection took me back to when I met my husband for the first time. I was not in the slightest bit interested in him romantically, but only acepted his phone number because my friend was crazy about his cousin.
All these years later, thank heavens I did!
I'm sure that reserved young man remembers you still, you obviously made an impression. His Mamma sounds like an interesting lady too. I wonder what is the story around the 3 dollar bills solving any trouble?
Thankyou for this delightful postXX

Nessa said...

That was a great story and a wonderful lesson from a wise young man.

steviewren said...

What an important message to learn. There was a boy in high school who liked me. He was skinny and much shorter than me. He wanted us to go out, but I wouldn't even consider it. I've often thought of him. He was nice and funny and kind. I was stupid.

Cat in the road said...

Only as we get older are we able to see with our heart and not just our eyes.

Unknown said...

a very wise young man. he has great depth. I wonder if someday he may see this post? karma.

Claus said...

I too have a treasure box! Actually, I'm already on box #3 :-)) and it's great when I go through them and remember why I keep their contents. Unfortunately, they didn't exist until I was in my middle 20's, which means that many of my treasures before that are missing :-(
It must have been a blast to travel around with your best friend and go through so many adventures!! Those moments last a lifetime.
Thanks for sharing Zuzana!
have a great day!

Radka said...

Ahoj Zuzko, jak pak se máš?? Doufám, že sis vyzvedla ode mně ocenění blogu. Ahoj Radka.

sprinkles said...

What a lovely, yet bittersweet memory. It's amazing what such moments can teach us sometimes, especially when we least expect it. Thank you for sharing that story.

I have another award for you, dear sweet Zuzana!

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

What a wonderful memory Zuzana. I love your box and all the stories it holds. And the boy...wouldn't you LOVE to know where and who he is today???? When we are young we are SO, SO foolish...sometimes when we are old as well. :(

You and your friend look to be having the time of your lives!!!


Anonymous said...

Zuzana, your candour in the telling of this story tells me that you have come far. It sounds like that moment in time has changed you in ways that you could not have realised until some years had passed and you'd gained a little more perspective on yourself and life around you. Wonderful story. I nearly teared up when he handed you the one dollar bills and said what he did.

Hilary said...

What a lovely memory. I suspect you might remember that boy more easily than he, you. This is of course not to say that you are less than memorable, but he knew how to touch your heart, though not in the way he had hoped. Wonderful story, Z.

Unknown said...

You tell it so well. Hope you enjoyed the memory as well as I enjoyed the reading.

Unknown said...

You tell it so well. Hope you enjoyed the memory as well as I enjoyed the reading.

Holly said...

Oh my goodness,...that was so melancholy. Or maybe bittersweet is a better word. I really enjoyed reading this post like I enjoy a good book.

There are so many sides to you my mad scientist friend. :)

Roger Gauthier said...

Omigod Zuzana, you were smashing - and still are! :-)

What an extraordinary story. I don't know if you were shallow, but I know that I can feel the boy's misery behind the gesture. And you know, he finally won you, and never came back! This must be quite a man today.


Lulda Casadaga said...

Hi Zuzana: Yes, we all are probably guilty of doing something similar in the past without realizing it. We can blame it on long as we learn from it...(which some people don't, sad to say)

My mementos are scattered here and there in the garage, house, etc. But, like you, I sometimes retrieve a piece of history and step back in time and mostly smile to myself.

Love your pic...great smiles!!

SandyCarlson said...

A touching memory. I am glad you have those three bills. I can relate to your story.

I too have such a treasure box. It is difficult to open and I do it seldom. But it is important for me to know it is there, that I can return to those moments whenever I want or need to.

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Touching story. You are a great story telling personality! Hugs

Sukanya said...

That was a lovely post Zuzana.. Treasure box is a wonderful idea. I have a lot of things with a little story added to them but they are not laid here and there.. Now you have inspired me to get a box to store all these small treasures that I own. Thanks for the post Zuzana.

I still wonder what made that young man give you those three dollar bills. Was it just an act of kindness or hospitality??


Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Thank you for sharin' your 'story' box with truly was a treasure. I love the cute pic of you and your best friend. Those smiles are just priceless.

I wanted to thank you for visitin' with your sweet comment and prayers for Angel. Pleas drop by often, the door of the Ponderosa is always open.

God bless ya from the happy hills and hollers of the Missouri Ponderosa! :o)

Blogaire said...

Wonderful story brought back to life by your reminisces Zuzana. Your treasure box sounds a little like the toys in TOY STORY, it's contents capable of coming back to life again when that lid is opened. And the secret I think is to not open your box of treasures too often, so that when you do the memories within will be all the sweeter, fonder and beautiful.
Hope you are having a good week Zu.

Rajesh said...

It is good to see the items from your collection. It is a nice experience to go through them once a while. A kind of refresher.

S. Susan Deborah said...

Came back to say that I am enjoying reading all these comments here.

Zuzana said...

Elizabeth, Susan, Cosmo, Brian, Sumandebray, Laura, Kath, Nessa, Stevie, Scribe, Doreen, Claudia, Radka, sprinkles, Jill, Tony, Hilary, Kat, Holly, Roger, Lulda, Sandy, Phillip, Sukanya, Nezzy (welcome), Blogaire, Rajesh and Susan (again;))), thank you all for taking the time to read a longer post from me.;) I enjoyed reading all your comments, learning about your own youth recollection and your take on my own summer story. And I so love your lovely words of compliments.

As always, thank you all for taking the time to stop by, it means the world to me.;))


Jerry said...

You are wise to were wise to keep the dollars. Magnificent post.

Cheryl Kohan said...

This is a wonderful post. We should all have memory boxes, I think. Not only do they bring back fond memories, but as you point out, they also teach us much.

Unknown said...

What a beautiful and timeless post, Zuzana! While many of us have overlooked the gift of another person, we too may have been overlooked. All that can be done is to be aware of tomorrow's opprtunities, whenever and wherever they arise. I especially enjoyed this post! lol! :)

Zuzana said...

Jerry, Cheryl and Michael, thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to read this amusing story from my youth,