Cafe Hitch-hike


Sandy's dolphin

When I was in Florida, I thought of giving a small gift to Sandy, a blind woman I supervise at the university library. She is a troubled person, but Big Boss hired her because she wanted a chance to work in a library. We get along well; sometimes she's a lot to handle, but I do feel for her. I thought about giving her a glass dolphin to show someone thinks of her.

I didn't get to see Sandy the first week I was back because she was out sick. Today was the first time I had seen her. I could tell she felt her usual tight and nervous energy. I listened to what she had to say for a few minutes. I then sat her down and said I brought something for her from Florida.

"I thought you might like a piece of Florida," I said.

She unwrapped the present, and gazed at it. She then she held it in her hands. Sandy has limited sight; she calls those who can see "sighted." She can see patches of color but cannot distinguish its boundaries, sort of like an impressionist painting but without as much detail. If she saw a tree, she could see the brown of the bark and branches and the green of the leaves and a rough shape of colors that go together to make a tree, but she cannot see a tree in the crisp detail the sighted can see.

"It's blue, blue's my favorite color," she said.

"Yes, I remembered how much you liked the glass bluebird Big Boss gave us for Christmas," I said, "so I thought you might like this."

She held the glass in her hands.

"Is this a dolphin?" she exclaimed. She touched and held its different parts, the fins, the snout, and the curved body.

"Oh, my God," she cried, "I never knew what a dolphin looked like!"

I told her the Greeks thought of them as a sign of good luck on travels. Metaphysically, they are a symbol of paying attention to one's inner voice, as well as self-expression and positive release of emotions. In the animal world, dolphins are gentil and very intelligent. They are social animals who live and interact in a complex structure. Sandy's a Native American, so I thought she could appreciate the positive symbolism of the dolphin.

Sandy was very happy for the present. I didn't realize what a discovery this would be. She probably liked the figurines so she could get a sense of how things look.

She teared up and I almost did, too. I was so happy to give her a little something. She gave me a hug and I thought this, hoping she'd sense it:

"This is for you. I brought this for you because I thought you'd like a piece of a place you've never been. What the dolphin symbolizes are for you. I hope these things for you. I really hope you get a sense of peace, good luck, and kinship, I really, really do."

downwind | upstream