Magi: A True Story|
Copyright © 1999 Walt Zientek
Luis is a fixture at our school. A Special Education student in his fifth year of
high school, on a Transition schedule of school and work. Small, friendly and
outgoing, he does his classwork in the mornings and usually goes to his job
as a bagger in a local supermarket in the afternoons. You always know it is
a workday, as he proudly wears his name badge that day. Luis loves his job,
Professional Wrestling and Michele.
Michelle is Senior Class President, National Honor Society Officer and very,
very good to Luis.
Each morning, after his yellow van arrives, Luis heads to the student parking
lot to wait for Michele. He saves her a spot, with his small body, chasing away
anyone silly enough to claim her space. He paces with his awkward gate, back
and forth before her "spot," in eager anticipation of "his girlfriend" in her big
Each morning, Michele greets him and thanks him for saving her space and
Luis carries her lunch or her books inside. He beams with obvious pride as he
passes by me. He beams for quite a while. When describing this relationship,
the word "smitten" comes readily to mind. As for her, "kindness" seems to fit
This morning, so close to Christmas, Luis ran to me with a small bouquet in
hand. There was a card for Michele attached, of course. Luis was bursting
with pride and anticipation as he had purchased this gift with earnings from
his job. He headed out to the parking lot and I headed to a window to watch.
As usual, he began his determined pacing and included a dance step or two,
as he waited. When he saw her car, he shooed away any stray vehicles and
directed her to her place. I felt my own pulse quicken as she opened her car
"For me?" I saw her lips say. "Oh Luis! Thank you," she mouthed as she
touched his shoulder in thanks.
I smiled along with Luis as he took her books and turned toward the school.
I hurried toward the door that they would be entering and held it open as they
rounded the corner on the sidewalk.
Luis looked up at me and smiled a smile that said so much. A smile that said
that Michele had liked his gift. A smile that said he had done well.
Michele looked up at me and smiled too. I saw the tear that had slightly stained
her cheek. I saw the gratitude mixed with the sadness as well.
I looked at her and said in all honesty, "It just doesn't get any better, you know."
She answered me with equal honesty and said, "I know."
And more softly, "I know."
Why is this a Magi Story? If it really is at all. What are the true gifts in this
exchange? I'll leave that for smarter folks than myself. All I know was that
it was a bit of magic and I am thankful that I could see it.