The Purity of Humans

One afternoon, I was waiting for the subway in Tokyo. The Hibiya Line towards Ginza. I was meeting a friend for a cup of coffee. The train arrived, I boarded, and took a seat. It was a bit more crowded than I expected, especially at this hour. The departure jingle played over the car speakers and we were off.

At the next stop a woman holding a toddler stepped on the train. There were no available seats so I stood and offered her mine. She politely bowed, whispered excuse me, and sat down. The train made two more stops and a seat next to the young mother became available. I politely bowed, whispered excuse me and sat next to her.

We rode for several stops. The little girl would randomly laugh and playfully squirm about in her mothers arms, sometimes bumping my chest or shoulders with her tiny hands. Her mother would smile with a bit of embarrassment. I didn’t mind at all. Mom reached in her bag and pulled out a container of small butter cookies. The little girl got excited. A few minutes passed and her miniature hand hit me a few quick times. I turned and saw her arm stretched out towards me, a cookie in her open palm, and a big grin on her face. Her mom whispered in her ear, and she loudly repeated “どうぞ.

Photo by Vlad Cheu021ban on

**どうぞ is pronounced “dough-zoh.” It is a phrase used to offer or give.

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