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Happiness Is A Bean, by Teresa Präauer

I recently received a dark brown-black bean from a long-time friend, which he dug out of his pocket and handed me with the words: This is a lucky bean. He smiled mischievously and a bit like you know it from people who have the mischief in the neck. But more than that, the gift was meant to be really loving and encouraging, the friend had learned of a grief that plagued me, and so I should now put the lucky bean in his pocket and keep it with me until I was lucky again would be. I put the bean in the coin compartment of my wallet, which I change less often than my pants, and from that day on I carried the bean with me as I was told.

It was only after a few days that I noticed why my friend had grinned like that when he handed over the bean he had found on the beach: it was made of stone. A dark, matt, rounded stone in the shape of a bean. How funny nature can often be with its trivial jokes about the similarities of things, I thought. And now I had to grin that I hadn’t noticed that immediately when I received it, including the weight. The bean was a stone.

In the days that followed I jokingly used the stone bean there and there. At the post office counter I had to pay postage and opened the coin box to offer the post office worker the bean instead of the coins. Of course, I didn’t want to get rid of the bean, rather it was a reason to chat, and thus also a kind of curren-cy. Every time I tried to use the bean for something, I was offered a smile, a question, a conversation about stones, beans and coins in exchange. I never exchanged them, never-ever. But did the lucky bean bring me luck too?

Surprisingly, it soon actually brought what you want for a good year: concert visits, dinner with friends, coffee, discussions, work breaks. Afternoons in the library, long walks. Offers, encounters, even love. As soon as I have had enough luck, I wrote in mid-February, I will have to pass the bean on. I was already getting cocky and generous with my lucky bean!

But then came this whole annoying thing with the corona virus, suddenly everything that had just been so beautiful was banned, and I said to myself, I’d better keep the bean in my pocket for a while. Better safe than sorry. The only thing left on my list of possible happiness was the long walks. Due to the lack of attractions, I regularly measured the number of steps I took. That was often ten thousand a day. It’s about eight kilometers through the city, from one quiet district to the next, from one quiet place to the next, from one empty street to the next. If you go far enough, I thought, you will eventually get to the beach. And once you get there, you don’t have to be stingy anymore. Because the lucky beans lie like stones on the bank, you just have to find them and put them in your pocket.

Original language is German written by Teresa Präauer, Feb / May 2020

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