The red jacket
Updated: Mar 20
It is not about the jacket or the chair. It has never been.
We are walking down the street, with my mom.
Here it comes…
“Look, look, look, mum, look at this red jacket. It is beautiful, mum. Isn’t it?
Can we buy this, please please, please???
Why...but… please mum, I really like it….
This is one of the first memories with my mother, while we were shopping.
I saw a red jacket that I really, really liked that I wish she bought me…
I even remember this memory years later. That I like this red jacket, which looked like just like her red jacket, and that I wanted to have it.
My mother told me that I throw my self to the floor and crying,
and that she explained to me she can not afford this jacket at this time.
Even though I tried not to judge her and understand her reasons intellectually,
I understand that children do cry for many things and you can not buy them all,
Explaining things to children does not help to understand and respond to their needs.
This was not just a jacket.
Whichever way I tried to convince myself that I couldn’t have this jacket at that time and try to “reason” with my inner child, I lost…
From this day still, only I remember the sadness
And disappointed that I couldn’t have the red jacket, which looks exactly like my mother's red jacket.
This jacket was not just a spoiled request from a whiny child.
This was more than that.
This is one of the most prominent and saddest memories of my childhood, that I didn’t know how to process, impossible to change but always there, until recently.
Last Thanksgiving, I had an experience that changed how I look at this memory.
I decided that if you are in Rome, you do as the Romans do.
If I am living in the US, I will join the craziness of Thanksgiving and BLACK Friday shopping.
I, my husband, and a friend went to a mall close by in the Bronx.
We dive into one of the departmental stores and as you can imagine, with ALL THE BARGAIN prices, crazy shoppers were everywhere, IT WAS A MADHOUSE.
We went with the flow and found some things, you know, a couple of clothes…
When we see the line of the cashier, Oh My GOD, I said, we are going to age here.
The line was twisting and turning in the store and nobody seem to care about the potentially long wait that they are going to be in.
We said, whatever we will wait, It is the way it goes.
While we were waiting and chatting on the line, there I saw her, ahead of us.
A little girl, with her mother and her brother, crying softly.
You might think: "Oh well Kumsal, how extraordinary…a kid crying to her mother at a shopping mall. How rare find!!!"
Well, I thought like this too, decided not to pay too much attention.
and we continued to chat within ourselves while waiting at this infinite line.
But I couldn’t help but kept an eye on this little girl and saw what she was crying for:
She had a tiny kid-size chair in her hand, she was dragging it with her as they were moving along the line.
As the line proceeded, as they approached the cashier, I can she that she was getting more annoyed and started crying louder, almost desperately,
Especially when her mother made her leave the chair aside as they were proceeding to the cashier.
Well, maybe she is just a spoiled girl crying for random things, crying about everything
"Come on, get over it, Kumsal!" I said to myself.
While I was thinking that I shouldn’t think too much,
I can still hear her crying, sobbing…
From this point on,
I couldn’t concentrate on the talk with my husband and my friend anymore.
I looked around, the funny thing is that no one seemed to realize this girl.
Not her mother, not a customer, not the cashier.
I felt like she was invisible Not a single soul heard or saw her.
You might say, well it is not the end of the world.
But for me, IT IS.
I turned to my husband, and he understood what was going on.
I told him; I have to do something.
As adrenaline rushed through my veins, I don’t remember much how things went exactly,
I felt as I aged, as the rest of the line approached to us, I grabbed that chair and run to the cashier, leaving all the things I carried along with me,
As I paid for it, I run out of the store, Looking for them frantically.
Here they were. Outside the store. She was still crying.
Then I ran to them and handed the chair to the girl.
She was shocked but stopped crying.
This little girl that, I haven’t seen it in my life before, and probably never will see it again.
This little girl that nobody heard, nobody saw
Who cried for this chair for real.
I saw her and she saw me at this moment.
I couldn’t say anything to her.
But we both knew.
She stopped crying.
Then I turned to her mother and said: "please don’t be angry with her, please."
This is not a story about a red jacket or a little chair.
I hope you understood that it is more than that.
Image Source: Canva.com