Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Month Nine: Malachite

Although I grew up in the friendly south, where smiling at strangers on the street is a way of life, I've lived up north long enough to develop a stern don't-mess-with-me face that I wear when navigating urban crowds. It usually helps would-be solicitors pick someone else to approach, but it's not always effective.

The other day, despite my best efforts, a man gifted with hair and deprived of teeth came right up to me and said urgently, "Excuse me, miss? Miss? Excuse me?" I couldn't sidestep his persistence or his politeness, so I said, "Yes?" while, I admit, stepping back a bit and holding my bag a little tighter.

"Here, take this. It's malachite. It's good protection for your baby when she's born. Just keep it by her bed."

And he handed me a little green rock. As my brain hustled to accommodate this unexpected development, I realized that in every folk tale I'm aware of, when a scruffy stranger offers an unsolicited kindness to a pregnant woman, she'd best take it and be grateful, unless she wants her first-born child to have some sort of colorful life-long curse.

So I did take it, I was grateful, I thanked him sincerely, and he went on his way. The stone is now on my bedside table. I'm not usually superstitious, but there are some archetypes you just don't mess with.

No comments: