John and Jane have been married for six years, and in that time, they’ve learned a lot about each other. For instance, John knows that when Jane says she’s “fine,” she actually means that she’s anything but fine. And Jane knows that when John says he’s “not mad,” he’s actually very mad.
But there are still some things that they don’t know about each other. For instance, John doesn’t know that Jane secretly thinks he’s a bit of a slob. And Jane doesn’t know that John secretly thinks she’s a bit of a nag.
But even though they don’t always see eye to eye, they still love each other very much. And they both know that, at the end of the day, they complement each other, and they’re better off together than they are apart.
One day, John comes home from work and he can tell that something is wrong. Jane is standing in the kitchen, staring off into space, and she doesn’t even look at him when he walks in.
“Jane, what’s wrong?” he asks. “You seem really out of it.”
“I’m fine,” Jane said, a little too quickly.
“Are you sure?” John asks. “Because you don’t look fine.”
“I said I’m fine,” Jane replies, a little bit more forcefully.
At this point, John knows that it’s best to just drop the subject. So he does. But he can’t help but wonder what’s wrong with Jane.
Later that night, after they’ve gone to bed, John finally gets his answer. Jane is lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, and she’s obviously not asleep.
“Jane, what’s wrong?” he asks again. “You’ve been really out of it all day.”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Jane says.
“Well, you have to talk about it,” John replies. “Because I can’t help you if I don’t know what’s wrong.”
“Fine,” Jane says, sighing. “I’ll tell you what’s wrong. I hate my job.”
“Why?” John asks. “What’s wrong with your job?”
“Everything,” Jane says. “I’m tired of being bossed around all the time. I’m tired of feeling like I’m not good enough. I’m just tired, John. I’m so tired. All I do is help on tasks.”
“I’m sorry,” John says, wrapping his arms around her. “I wish I could make it all go away.”
“But you can!” Jane says, sitting up suddenly. “You can make it all go away. Just accept your grandmother’s offer!”
“What?” John asks, confused.
“Your grandmother called today,” Jane explains. “She wants the green hat.”
“I don’t understand. What are you talking about?” John says.
“Your grandmother wants the green hat, and she asked if we could get it for her,” Jane says. “And I told her we would.”
“What on earth is the green hat?” John asks.
“I don’t know,” Jane says. “But she was very insistent that we get it for her. She offers 10,000 dollars for it! She mentioned it’s somewhere in Skateland…”
“I think you mean Scotland,” John smirks.
“Whatever,” Jane says, waving her hand dismissively. “The point is, we need to go there and get the green hat for your grandmother.”
“Why can’t she just get it herself?” John asks.
“She’s too old and frail,” Jane says. “and maybe she can’t skate very well. We’re going to Skateland!”
“Jane, I can’t just drop everything and go to Skateland,” John says. “I don’t think it’s even a real place.”
“It has to be,” Jane says. “Your grandmother said it’s a place where they make the best green hats.”
“I’m sure she did,” John says, shaking his head. “But I really don’t think we can just drop everything and go on some wild goose chase to… I’m not even sure where.”
“Fine,” Jane says, her voice trembling. “If you won’t do it for me, do it for your grandmother. She needs us, John. We have to get the green hat.”
“Okay,” John says, resigned. “I’ll go.”
“Thank you,” Jane says, kissing him on the cheek.
So John and Jane pack their bags and head off to Skateland in search of the green hat.
At the airport, they book a flight to Skateland. The big red sign in the airport explains that Skateland is a mythical land where the best green hats are made. It is said that if you are able to find Skateland and obtain one of the green hats, your life will be changed forever.
“We are lucky there are still tickets available for Skateland!” Jane exclaims as they board the plane.
“I’m not so sure about this,” John says, shaking his head. “Something tells me this won’t turn out the way we expect.”
“Don’t be such a scaredy-cat,” Jane says. “This is going to be an adventure!”
As the plane takes off, John can’t help but wonder what they’re getting themselves into.
After some time, their plane lands in Skateland. They exit the plane and are immediately surrounded by green hats.
“Wow,” Jane says, spinning around. “I’ve never seen so many green hats in my life!”
“Neither have I,” John says. “But I don’t see any 10,000-dollar hat.”
“Let’s keep looking,” Jane says. “I’m sure it’s around here somewhere.”
They ask people where they might be able to find the hat, but no one seems to know. Finally, they come across a man dressed all in green.
“Excuse me, sir,” John says. “Do you know where we might be able to find a 10,000-dollar green hat?”
“Oh, that hat,” the man nods. “It’s not something you can just buy. You have to earn it.”
“How do we earn it?” Jane asks.
“You have to give without taking,” the man explains, smiling widely.
“I don’t understand,” John says.
“It’s simple,” the man says. “You have to give of yourselves without expecting anything in return.”
“And then we’ll get the hat?” Jane asks.
“Yes,” the man says. “But it’s not that easy. You have to forget you ever wanted it.”
“Forget we ever wanted it?” John repeats, confused.
“Yes,” the man says. “If you can do that, then the hat will be yours.”
John and Jane look at each other, not sure what to make of this man’s words. But they know they have to try. After all, they are already in Skateland.
So John and Jane start giving of themselves without expecting anything in return. They help people carry their bags, they give directions to those who are lost, and they even give up their seats on the bus to those who need it more. And sure enough, after a while, they forget all about the green hat and what it represents.
Eventually, they stumble across a small shop with a sign that reads: “The Best Green Hats in Skateland.” They enter the shop and are greeted by an old woman.
“Thank you for coming,” the old woman says. “I have been waiting for you.”
“What do you mean?” Jane asks.
“I have been waiting for two people who are willing to give without expecting anything in return,” the old woman explains. “And you, my dear, are those people.”
She hands them a beautiful green hat and smiles, “Say hello to your grandmother for me.”
John and Jane are stunned. They had completely forgotten about his grandmother and why they had come to Skateland in the first place. But now they realize that their journey was never really about the hat. It was about giving without expecting anything in return. And that is the best gift of all.
Vocabulary Memory Game
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