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Thanksgiving Challenge 2020 Thursday: Feasts of Giving

Challenges are Fun! Participate in Rodric's challenge as they come and enjoy the muse of Writing each challenge brings. Express yourself!

Each time he walked past the little shop, the same little boy stood there, dirty and doe-eyed. His threads in his clothing appeared on the brink of revolt as the boy's thin frame held them up, coat hanger-like.

Each time the doe-eyed boy saw him, he plastered the most affectionate smile on his visage. The man could not keep himself from smiling back almost with the giddiness of expectation. The boy's smile filled him with hope and peace each time. Seeing the small boy set the mood for the rest of the day.

Each morning this occurred for months. Did not this kid have school to worry about? Was there a parent watching him? Why was he in such shambly clothing? Where was his mask?

Because of the pandemic, Devan never took the time to trouble the lad as he walked past this delight on his way to work. Each time the smile would radiate joy in Devan's heart. It put him in the right mood.


Each morning this occurred for months. Did not this kid have school to worry about? Was there a parent watching him? Why was he in such shambly clothing? Where was his mask?


On his way from his flat, Devan decided that he would visit the shop where the boy always appeared. It was an odd place for a child to be since it was downtown. The alley where the boy stood was clean with boxes here and there. It was not so much of an alley as a small square space in the front of the building with a fence toward the sidewalk and a singular red door to the left side.

The shop was nothing special, but it was a decent size. The sign did not indicate what the specialty of the shop was, but the door seemed to welcome patronage.

Devan, saw the boy as usual who smiled as usual. Devan smiled back and went toward the customer entrance. The doors were locked. Walking back toward the fenced area where the slim boy smiled earlier, he had vanished inside, it seemed.

Devan went about to work as usual planning to visit after work when the shop would likely be open--just out of curiosity.


Several days passed by without Devan being able to make a post-work run to the shop. Each day, the slender boy with the paper-thin clothing appeared, couldn't have been more than 10 years in age. The smile lit up the morning as usual and Devan smiled back as usual.

Devan made it his goal to visit the shop to see what business the boy had to be there instead of school, if possible, where did this unmasked child who brightened his morning each day fit into it all.

He planned to leave work early and see if he could catch the shop open. He skipped his 30-minute lunch so that he could leave early and walked the 20-minute trek back toward his flat. The lights in the shop indicated it was open, as well as the 'OPEN' sign next to the double glass doors. The shop's name appeared in bold: Soothing Essence.

There on the door were the usual signs to expect during a pandemic. Masks were required. There was a virtual attendant in the lobby who asked the pertinent questions about his health before inviting him to sit for service.

Devan questioned himself about his motive for being there. It would be odd for him to explain that the reason he went to the shop was that a thin boy in shambly clothing smiled at him each day. It made him seem like a child predator. Devan shuddered at the thought, deciding it might be best for him to keep that to himself to avoid the implication.

The shop foyer was a very soothing place to sit and was representative of the season, Thanksgiving. It apparently was a physical therapy location. A nurse entered the room to check his temperature fully gloved and masked. He again asked him all the questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nurse had a deep quiet voice, soothing. He asked Devan for what therapy did he visit the shop. Honestly, Devan told him that he did not need physical therapy. he wanted to see what this shop sold because he had been walking by it for months.

No mention of the boy who stood there each morning to greet Devan with a smile came up.

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Setting the Appointment

The nurse, Kevin, was happy to inform Devan about his practice. He was no nurse at all! He was one of several people who worked there. He was the owner and he with the other therapists took turns with customers to get them into the practice since they had no receptionist as of late.

Kevin told him that he might have a need for therapy after all since he walked to work daily. Before leaving, Devan had made an appointment for lower back pain. Bewildered, he left the shop feeling as if somehow he might have accepted the appointment because he felt guilty for seeking out the little thin boy from the shop.

When he walked past the location the next morning, the boy stood there with the sunshine smile that brightened his soul. Instead of walking by this time, we went to the child and stood several feet away from the fence before he asked him if he knew Kevin.

"That's my Dad," the boy affirmed.

"Okay," Devan accepted. "Have a good day."

"You too, Mr. Devan."


On His Appointment Day

Devan entered the lobby-type foyer. It was the day before Thanksgiving and he was off of work, luckily until the next week. A woman took him through the intake procedures for his appointment. After getting situated with Kevin, Devan chuckingly brought up his brief visit with the little boy at the fenced-in portion of the office.

"He said that he was your son," Devan offered.

Kevin lowered his head slightly and the mood changed, somber, reverent, and happy rolled into one.

"You saw a little boy," Kevin questioned.

"Yes, he has the most brilliant smile. I assume you must have told him about me because he called me Mr. Devan." Not knowing what to make of this mood change in the room, Devan pretended things felt fine since the mood was not negative, per se.

"My son is no longer with us. He passed on Thanksgiving a year ago."

"I am sorry for your loss," Devan admits.

Confused and a tad cautious about his next words, Daven queries, "Why would I see him? This is strange. I hope that I have not offended you."

Kevin removed his mask, revealing that the boy looked the spitting image of him, doe-like eyes and all. "I taught my son, Junior., that if he smiled at a person every day he is doing the work of God."

"What does that have to do with me? I mean, no offense intended. I saw a boy every day for months. Honestly, it is the reason I came to the shop."

"I have been praying for months to meet someone who Junior. touched with his smile. It made you come in my practice."

"I don't understand this, but he really did brighten my day for months. Things just got really weird, I know."

"I am glad God used you to answer my prayer. It is Thanksgiving tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving."

"Happy Thanksgiving. I need to talk to my pastor about this one," Devan offered, preparing to end his therapy session.

"Can we talk more about your experience outside of therapy," Kevin pled, giving the same infectious smile as did Junior. "I miss my boy."

"Why not," Devan responded. "After this experience, you are officially my new friend."

Out of the corner of his eye, Devan thought he saw that splendid smile from Junior.

© 2020 Rodric Anthony Johnson

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