Though I wasn’t feeling great today, I decided this morning to head out for the Eid prayer and have a proper Eid with friends. Eids are bittersweet for me, as I feel like a divided person, between Pakistan-Eid and US-immigrant-Eid, and I often struggle between now-and-then, there-and-here.
So we were rushing out to the car in the rain, to begin the hour-long drive to the Eid Prayer at the University of Chicago. Suddenly, our Korean neighbor, who speaks little English and with whom we have exchanged a handful of words – ran out in his shorts, and called to us. Svend asked him what was up and he waved Svend off, and ran toward ME. Confused I went to him. He pressed a $5 bill into my palm and said softly, with a crooked smile, “Coffee,” and ran back to his house.
I am keeping that $5. It has all kinds of meaning to me. My parents would have given me Eidee (traditionally, a symbolic amount of money is given as gift by older relatives and friends). They are not here with me; I feel like God sent my Korean neighbor – whom we know VERY little – to bring me a sense of connection. Since then we’ve all been puzzling over that gesture: does he know about Eid and Eidee? Does he know we’re moving from this house, so he’s trying to say he appreciates us? Does he know we’ve been going through trying times? Maybe all of those. I don’t know. But I felt like the heavens had split open and smiled upon me in the form of a $5 bill.
A blessed Eid to all of you from all of us – family and community.