It was the pencil never used. Sitting there at the bottom of the pencil bag. Why was it there? Who knew. The graphite was terrible. It never remained sharp. The eraser had fallen out of the other side of it. This pencil was the worst of all possible pencils.
Well, outcast if one considered it with a modicum of personification. In truth, the owner of this pencil always forgot it was there. Except for the occasional moment when they pulled it out and then stuck it back in. There was never a wastebasket around to dispose of it at those moment. And then it was forgotten.
Which was fine. It filled out the pencil bag a bit more.
School was saved.
The dog stared at the treat in her hand with intense interest. Interest that had nothing to do with her words or any other motion that didn’t move the treat.
Trying again with the same thing didn’t make a noticeable difference. She sighed, but tried again.
Finally, the dog moved. He walked behind her and stood there. She turned around and showed him the treat again. He didn’t try to take it from her hand, but still waited patiently. In a last ditch effort to make this work without actually having to make him sit herself, she walked forward to crowd out his space.
I find myself thinking about all of the things I would do if I was rich.
Oddly enough, the first thing that comes to mind is tipping. The ability to go and eat at a restaurant and tip twice as much as what I paid for the food. I once found myself with extra tickets to go to the zoo and handed it out to the first couple I saw heading for the ticket booth. It was Christmas. I figure the tipping thing would give me that feeling times however many times I could do it. Which, if I was rich, would be however many times I wanted to do it.
Once I was in line at a fast food restaurant. The man in front of me had done something or another to get free food with his order, but he passed it on to me. What would it be like if I could just pay for the person behind me in line without having to then worry about how I would pay my bills?
Maybe this is wishful thinking, but I like to think that I am not the only one who feels this way. That without the stresses of the rest of life, a lot of people would simply like the feeling of helping someone out if they could. Maybe I can’t afford to do this all the time, as I would like.
But despite not being rich… I guess I can still do this occasionally.
Considering all things in the world
that keep away and push you back,
there is enough that is within grasp to decide
that it is time to decide what can and cannot
without the accommodation of those around
look for yourself, for once, for all.
When the chance comes, within the free,
to play plausible out of sight,
consider not the substitutes that dangle
ahead, if the cans and cannots
are regulated by anyone else other than
will take up the mantle of the obtainable,
Vidvan’s master had a fondness for a particular fruit named gingaopu. It came up from the way south, from an archipelago where it was only known to grow. Because of that, it was very expensive all the way up here. His Master did not get it often.
It was one of the things everyone knew about. Vidvan knew he wasn’t the only curious one. But no one else touched that fruit. It arrived one day and would be consumed the next. There was no time to savor it. It could go bad and that would be his Master’s personal expense gone to nothing.
“You have never had gingaopu before, have you Vidvan?”
His Master’s voice was warm, but it wasn’t really a question. He would know that Vidvan had never even touched it before. If he had, that was stealing it from his Master’s own mouth. He would never do that.
“No, master. Though I have read about how it is gathered. Fascinating.”
“Well worth the trouble. At least, my coin says as much.” His Master laughed. He reached to his plate, where there was a single slice of it left. He held it out to Vidvan. “Here, try it.”
“Are you… well, it is an honor. My most gracious thanks.”
“Why don’t you talk?” Summer asked, blunt as ever. Winter scowled, swatting after her. But Summer had already run off to look at Dahlia.
Dahlia stared back blankly. “I talk.”
Summer gasped, like it was some big shock. Maybe it was to her, Winter barely understood it. She was certain Dahlia was closer in age to Summer than to her, but Dahlia didn’t act like Summer at all.
“Summer, stop bothering her.” Winter got to her feet, slowly walking over to Summer to be able to grab her hand. If she ran, then Summer would run. Chasing her wasn’t where she wanted to spend her energy today. She looked over at Dahlia. “The Baroness says there are apple trees behind the castle. They pick them occasionally. She wants to know if we want to try to get some before other people do. Apparently they’re ripe now.”
Dahlia shuffled in place, then looked up at her. “Apples?”
Winter held out her hand. “Apples. They’ll taste really good, I think. First ones of the season. What do you say?”
Dahlia didn’t take her hand, but when Winter took Summer to go, she noted that Dahlia followed after.
The movie continued to play on the street screen. Zamir didn’t know why he continued to stand there, but in truth he had no other place he had to be waiting. It was noise in the background. Noise other than the crowd who watched and the crowd who continue to use the roads for their intended purpose (walk from point a to point b, who would play a movie in public like this?).
Urit watched with big eyes. She had lived here her entire life, so she said, but big displays always seemed to impress her. Then she had to speak. “I haven’t seen your brother around recently. How is he?”
“Fine.” The lie came out before he could stop himself. Zamir tried not to shift uncomfortably. “He has gone abroad for a little bit.”
“Oh, how exciting! Where to?”
“Well, he has always wanted to go to-” Zamir’s mind stopped there, though his mouth filled in the rest of his sentence for him, “-a few places. I’m not sure of his itinerary.”
Shachaf had wanted to go to a few places, certainly. What if that was where he had gone? One of the places Zamir knew he had wanted to visit, see, something.
“That’s nice. I say people should always take a little time to travel.”
Zamir really couldn’t go running off willy nilly. He really couldn’t.
That was to say, he really shouldn’t.
“You are so lucky to have the window seat in your classroom.”
He was talking to his friends, but the girl answered instead of the person he was talking to. “So what? You could pay even less attention in class?”
He scowled. “All I’m sayin’ is that it’s a crime to be inside on a day like today.”
She should have agreed with that, because he knew she liked days like this, but she rolled her eyes instead. “Says the guy who spends half his time playing video games.”
“Not on days like this!” he protested.
Their friend laughed. She sighed. He groaned.
“Look. All I’m saying is that chalkboards are so old fashioned. Can’t stand looking at them.”
The three finished lunch before the bell rang.
“What are you doing?”
“Shhh.” He didn’t know who the child was. People here really did let their children just run all over the store. It used to bother him, but he had long since stopped caring much about it.
Except for right now, as he was trying to focus.
“You’ve been standing there forever,” the little girl said. “What are you doing?”
He didn’t look down at her. He didn’t tear his eyes away. “Deciding.”
“Between sea salt and sour cream and onion. This is very important.”
She stared between him and his two chip choices. “You’re weird,” she proclaimed, then ran away.
I wanted to tell her that I didn’t have a cure for this particular disease, but there was no way I could say that. Even if I cared less about the pain it caused her, I knew more the pain hearing such things would cause her husband.
I suppose I had some heart left. Enough to decide that our longstanding friendship meant I shouldn’t break his wife’s heart.
It was time to get to work.