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I didn’t need him to respond.  In fact, it was better this way.  It was a moment defined not by validation or equalization.  It was a moment not defined by manipulation.  Best of all, it was a moment not defined by retribution.

The saying goes that it is better to give than to receive.  Yet, we all still want to receive.  We can’t help it.  Whether it is a birthday, anniversary, Christmas – a Just-Because Day, we want to be the recipient of something.  We want to know that someone was thinking about us.  We want to feel special.  We don’t want to be forgotten.

The easy gesture of holding a door for someone starts out as giving, yet we still want to receive.  We do because we want to do, yet inevitably we expect to be the recipient.  It is not about a gift, but about two words:  “Thank you.”  Words that seem so simple to say yet can be so difficult to extract.  It is not the simplicity of the language that makes it difficult, it is the complex nature of humans to take unabashedly, recklessly, carelessly – obliviously – from those around us, leaving the givers wondering why they gave in the first place.  You can’t say “thank you” if you don’t feel “thank you.”  Yet as the door-holder we so want – no NEED – that “thank you.”  The effects of not getting it are residual.  It can almost keep you from holding that door the next time.

But moments come when you don’t need anything in return.  There are birthdays and anniversaries without presents.  Christmases when Santa only leaves gifts for the children.  And doors that get opened for someone else, and there is no “thank you.”   The moment arrives when it is perfectly acceptable to hold a door and not expect something in return.

This was one of those moments.  I wanted to hold open a door and not worry about whether the person passing through it was thankful.  I was opening a door not for him, but for me.  I needed to open the door and believe that it was just truly the right thing to do.  It didn’t matter whether that person cared or noticed.  So I opened up the door to my heart and I said it:  I told him I loved him.  And it was O.K. that he didn’t say it back.

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