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The Fruit of One's Labor

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The railway station was in the midst of orderly chaos (or, chaotic order - if that is more your cup of tea), with the masses bustling to and fro, in and out of the majestic transportation edifice; with heat, smoke, and other lingering scents and odors filling the heavy early morning air.

A seminarian, who went by the name of Son Dongwoon, sat quietly by himself, watching passers-by with detached interest, his Deacon Apparel messenger bag close at hand. He swept non-existent lint and filth off his seminary-issued vestments: a well-tailored yet lightweight taupe travelling cassock with dark grey buttons and piping, a pair of durable black leather loafers, and a threadbare 'cappello romano' - put simply a wide-brimmed, round hat.

A faint smile graced his impeccably-shaped lips, his eyes bright and alert. As he turned around, he espied a young fruit vendor, seated in an old empty barrel, coaxing hasty individuals to sample and purchase his crisp red apples and succulent peaches. To his credit, Brother Dongwoon mused wryly, the vendor was quite successful in his current endeavor.

Dongwoon looked away, intent on retrieving his favorite Clive Cussler novel (he once did dream of becoming an underwater explorer, until he realized he wanted to fulfill God's invitation, and join the seminary) from his bag, as he relaxed his taut shoulders, and stretched his tired body, knowing well that there was still some time left to kill.

 

Then came a resounding crash and a whimpering sob, and almost immediately, Dongwoon's gaze went back to where the young vendor was.

As expected, the poor boy was on the floor, trying desperately to rescue his edible wares that were about to stepped upon, sullied and bruised. Leaving his things on the bench, Dongwoon hurried to the boy's side, and helped him gather the haphazardly thrown fruits on the ground.

Several sideway glances and an inaudible gasp from the clergyman-to-be himself, Dongwoon finally understood a heart-wrenching reality about the youthful vendor that captured his attention.

The young fruit peddler was blind.

Now, everything made sense: the way the boy tapped the floor with his hands, as if trying to catch a feel of the things he was looking for, but never did he once look down to search for any of them.

Brother Dongwoon was indubitably heartbroken.

 

"Here," he remarked softly, "The fruits are back on the crates - nothing was ruined."

"Sir," the boy smiled impishly, removing the worn baseball cap on his head, and bowed slightly, "Thank you for your help."

"It would've taken me a lot of time to gather all of them back together, and most of them would've been damaged and wrecked, if it wasn't for your assistance."

"You're welcome," Dongwoon returned the smile, which faltered when he remembered the boy's condition, "I'm Son Dongwoon, from the nearby seminary."

"Yang Yoseob," the boy shot back good-naturedly, tentatively pre-offering his hand, which Dongwoon instantly accepted with a firm shake, as he inquired, "Sir, may I ask you a question?"

"Ask ahead," Dongwoon acquiesced quietly, "Anything you want."

"Sir, are you God?"

It was a question of pure wonder and innocence, and the seminarian couldn't help, but get very affected by it.

"I'm sorry, Yoseob," fat rolls of tears began to descend Dongwoon's cheeks, his breaking heart in a chokehold, "I'm not God."

"I wish I was, but I'm not." Dongwoon added sadly, as Yoseob gingerly traced the seminarian's face with his fingers.

"It's alright, Sir," Yoseob smiled once more, "For me, such kindness could only come from the Heavens, so I thought you came from that wonderful place above."

The PA blared to life, announcing the latest set of destinations that was about to depart from the station, Dongwoon's was one of them.

"I shall pray for you, Yang Yoseob," Dongwoon promised with conviction, and Yoseob repaid his benevolent remark with his own, "And, I shall never forget you, Brother Dongwoon, for as long as I live."

Dongwoon bit his lower lip to stop himself from crying again, running back to the bench where he left his bag, retrieving said bag, and went back to Yoseob's makeshift stall, telling the hawker, "May God always look after you, and never forget to shower you with good graces."

Yoseob nodded smilingly, "Thank you for everything, Brother Dongwoon."

Dongwoon wanted to say more, but with the final PA advisory, he said his goodbyes, and went ahead to catch his train.

Yoseob stood still, in quiet reverence to his Good Samaritan, until he surely felt that the seminarian finally left the building.

Squaring his shoulders, his portable embossed weighing scale at his hand, he bellowed once more, "Peaches! Apples! Buy fresh fruits here! Apples! Peaches! Certified fresh and juicy! Buy them here..."