I looked at my pink pony wagon with stickers and a furnished toy house my Godmother had given me when I was four years old. I glanced at my mother who was sitting on the sofa next to me, and quickly looked back at my toys.
“Nichole,” my mother softly said as she smiled, “Imagine all of the other children on the streets who will be happy if they had your toys! They’re beautiful toys, right?” I slowly nodded at her as I made one of the most important decisions I had to make in my six-year-old life.
“You have another car (ride-on) and a firetruck (ride-on), and you have all of your other beautiful Barbie dolls. Some of the children on the streets, don’t have any toys! Wouldn’t it make them happy if they had toys?” I nodded and looked back at my angelic mother who had just finished cleaning the house for a few hours and had left it to me to clean my playroom with her; I then noticed the large empty paper shopping bag next to her. I remember thinking how much I wanted to keep both my wagon and toy house and also knew that if I had decided to keep both of them, my mother wouldn’t ask me to give them away again.
This past weekend, as my friends and I walked out of the Funiculaire by Sacre Coeur, we started to head towards the métro and talked about what all of us felt like eating when we arrived at Saint Michel. While they talked about the Nutella crêpes, I noticed a mother and her two sons fast asleep covered with a small cotton blanket on the side of one of sidewalks next to a ‘Paris Souvenir Shop’. I found it heartbreaking to see a family asleep on the side of the road, especially after a fireworks display that had just occurred an hour before to celebrate the Montmartre Harvest Festival at Sacre Coeur. But like most of the unheard and the unseen, we passed them and headed towards the métro.
As I twirled around my chair this afternoon, I tried to think about what I wanted to eat for dinner – during one of the nights I don’t have my planned dinners with my host family. I continued to twirl around, thinking about whether I felt like going to the bakery across the street from my house to buy a baguette to eat with my can of corn and slice of Comte cheese. I suddenly got hungry and jumped up and headed straight to the front door before I could change my mind. I ended up buying a whole baguette, and thought of cutting it up in half at home to give to my host-mother, V., who had asked me to get her bread for dinner. As I walked out of the bakery, only thinking about how warm the bread was, I passed a line of people walking in and a man standing outside had asked me something. I passed him and didn’t realize what he had said until I reached the other side of the street with my warm, newly baked baguette. I felt my heart drop and my eyes get heavy, when I realized that he was asking me if he could have some of my bread.
I felt my mother wake me up the morning after she had me decide whether I wanted to give some toys away to the children that had none. She held my hand and led my to one of the windows above the couch in the living room, and said, “Nichole, look! A mother with her children is picking up the paperbag! The little girl looks so excited, right? She must be really happy she has toys now!” I smiled at my mother, still half-asleep, and lay down on the couch, and looked back at the empty spaces where my wagon and toy house used to sit.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Nichole Palmero, and I'm a rising junior from Ithaca College. I am currently majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance, and am minoring in Art History and Honors in Humanities and Sciences. I'm from the Philippines, but was born in and grew up in Saudi Arabia, but went to boarding school in the States for three years. As an Art History minor, I'm really excited to be in Paris to study the art in the area and to see the pieces that were made there! Also, I live for donuts.</span></p>