Brian was nervous. I mean who wouldn’t be? Sure the God’s have talked to mortals before, even at length sometimes. But it is different when YOU are the one allowed to speak with a God. Sure it was a Minor God: if there is such a thing…they don’t seem to have a problem among themselves as to who is who- it seems it is only us mere mortals that assign them Superior Positions.
Enough of that, let’s join Brian and hear his story in his own words.
What in the world have I gotten myself into. I should never have written that piece about how easy it is to be kinder, gentler, sweeter. I just wanted to beat the deadline with a short “puff piece”. A billion views? Sheesh.
Then Erica calling me into her Office to say a God wanted to speak with me about my article. A God. I almost fainted.
“Wha…What? Why? Why me?”
Erica smiled one of her Professional Smiles that stung more than the taunts I got in Grade School for reading Chaucer instead of Batman.
“Oh, I can assure you, I asked the same questions.”
There was that smile…again. I never knew an intimidating smile until I started working for Erica. She was superior in every way, and she had the Ivy League Honors, Pulitzer Prizes, and Best Sellers to back it all up. As long as she is alive, nobody will need to build a monument to her list of accolades…she makes sure you know them herself.
I was regaining my composure…so I asked again. Sweetly.
“What did they say? The Gods I mean.”
“I know who you meant.”
My gosh, does she have to beat you at every chance she gets. I thought that only to myself and luckily my lips didn’t hear it either.
“Well, then what did They say?”
She threw my article on kindness on the table, sliding it over to me like it was a live snake, covered in snot, and wrapped in used toilet paper. It slid right over the edge. I bent and picked it up.
I had written it to be read on a screen or tablet. This copy was on the best linen paper- with gold leaf around the edges. It was beautiful. The handwriting (A hand written copy! Wow) was more like Calligraphy, than any kind of Mortal penmanship.
It wasn’t hard to guess. But you never guess in front of Erica.
“Who made this copy for me?”
Erica’s smile changed to a grimace. She made a “pointing upstairs gesture” with her finger.
“I believe it was the God of Little Things who sent that here. Along with a little note.”
She handed me the note. It was on the same type of paper, with the same gold leaf, but it was much smaller. It simply said:
“I would like to speak with you on Wednesday at 2 PM, if you are free at that time. Just give this card to the gatekeeper. I have Lemonade, Sweet tea, or Grape Juice. All healthy for you, as I know you Mortals have a problem with soft drinks, beer, and wine. Of course our water is heavenly too. See you at Two.”
I couldn’t help but smile. This God had a sense of humor.
When I looked up, Erica was smiling too. A real smile.
“I thought the same thing when I read it. Simple things. Little things like fresh cold drinks, heavenly water, are the best treats. And his poetry rhyming is atrocious.”
We both laughed.
The Card got me thru the gate. The road up to his house was like walking on a rainbow. Heck, maybe it was. I had a bird as a companion. You might not think that was unusual, but he asked me all kinds of questions:
“Did you ever build a birdhouse? Feed the ducks? Take out your ear buds to hear birdsong in the wild? Throw some popcorn out for the crows and sparrows?”
I answered “Yes” to all his questions - and that made him preen like a peacock.
“Well done! Well done, indeed.”
With that he patted me on the head. I swear he patted me with a red and blue feathered wing that left glitter in my hair. As he took flight he sang a song. Not birdsong, but my favorite song of all time: “Baby I’ma want you, Baby I’ma need you.” In perfect pitch too.
Then I was there. At HIS house. It didn’t look like a mansion. Just an ordinary three room house. Okay, not ordinary. I mean the paint job wasn’t just coral colored…it was coral. But flat like paint…until you looked at it closely.
I almost lost it when I was staring at the Clown Fish swimming among the stingers of Anemones without a worry in the world- and a big Moray Eel slithered in front of them. I turned to knock on the door.
I swear the door was yellow when I came on the small porch. Now…well, it was blue. Like the sky. And I mean like the sky. Clouds, wind, and I swear that red and blue feathered bird went by too…I could hear the last few words of my song as it went out of eyeshot.
The knocker was the exact same knocker that you saw in the Scrooge Movies. A lion. I lifted the solid brass loop and let it fall. It made a booming sound inside the house. I stepped back. The Door was now black velvet with diamonds on it. All sparkling and twinkling. It took a moment, but then I got it. It was the night sky now. A shooting star caught my eye. I watched it turn into a fireball and then disappear. It had ablated and gone dark.
I made a wish.
Back on Earth, my old girlfriend dropped her tray onto the lap of a handsome man who was sitting by himself. A red face, lots of apologies, and four lattes later - they were still talking.
I didn’t know it until I got back from my Interview, but I had gotten my wish. My old girlfriend had found her true love. It made me happy.
The door opened. The house was as “simple” in the inside as it was outside. I walked on a floor that was as soft as a cloud. I heard a quiet chuckle as I did a double take…it was a cloud.
The chuckle turned into speech. Speech sauced over with humor and delight.
“I love that reaction by you Mortals. It is a little thing, I know, or I should know anyway, but it is the little things that carry the most weight.”
With that, he snapped his fingers (which, he told me later, was just for show) and the floor turned into the whitest of white marble, but still soft. And don’t ask me how that is possible. Ask HIM.
I looked. My Mom had ten mouths to feed. Cakes were so rare that sometimes, well, you didn’t even get one on your birthday. My favorite cake was Yellow Cake with milk chocolate frosting. I loved a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.
On a plate made of the best Waterford Crystal, was a perfect wedge of yellow cake with milk chocolate frosting. Nestled next to it, not even melting yet, a single scoop of Vanilla Bean Ice cream.
I did. I had to close my eyes for that first bite. It was the best cake I ever had. Thoughts of my Mom flooded my mind. A few of my Sister’s making me the same kind of cake, and even my old girlfriend’s adolescent tries - all were meant with kindness and that kindness leaked out with every memory. It was the same with every bite.
Little things came back. The smell of my Mother’s sweater on the back of her rocking chair. The swooping edge of her glasses that matched the blue of her eyes. The look of satisfaction she got when I loved the taste of her cake.
My twin Sisters as they made my birthday cake in an Easy Bake oven. I was five, they were both seven. We ate all those tiny cakes. And they gave me the first one from every batch…after all it was my birthday.
Then my old girlfriend. Eight years with that girl. I wanted more. She moved on, but left a boatload of firsts with me. The obvious, first kiss, first date, first hug, and yes…first love making. But other than the first kiss, the things I remembered most were that first cake she made me.
How sorry she was that she got dark chocolate frosting - but how every year after that, she made a yellow cake for my birthday…but half of it had dark chocolate frosting, the other half milk chocolate. It was our birthday cake.
The other “first” from her that has lasted my whole life is this: she is the first person I ever told I wanted to be a Writer. And…she was the fist person to believe I could be. I don’t know how many rejections I got before I sold that first piece. But I know she would give me a hug and then make me laugh:
“Those bastards. They couldn’t tell real writing from a column in the Enquirer. I bet they think Ulysses was about a bar in London- and never got the connection.”
Because of her…well, I never gave up.
It was funny in a sad way, or maybe Irony, that the first piece I ever sold, was about her moving on, and me…not. She wrote me a note and told me that she had that piece framed so that someday she could sell it at Auction and claim:
“That was about me! My old boyfriend wrote it.”
She told me it would fetch millions, but she wouldn’t take a penny.
She told me that my True Love would love me because of that piece…and she hoped I knew that.
I never saw or heard from her again after that note. I did think of her often, and hoped that -when she was ready- she would find her True Love too. Little did I know that my wish at the God’s door was granted.
My eyes opened again when I bit into the ice cream. I couldn’t help it. I yelled out in surprise:
“Oh. My. God. This is DELICIOUS!”
The God of Little Things clapped his hands in delight.
“I know. I eat way too much of it myself.”
He patted his belly, which was no little thing.
I finished the ice cream slowly. Each bite bringing back a memory, a place, or a person. My Sisters feeding me ice cream by hand after I had my tonsils out. One sitting on my left side, one on the other side.
I would get a small spoon of ice cream from one, then turn my head slightly and get a small spoonful from my other sister. They did that for three days until my throat wasn’t sore anymore. They did little things like that my whole life. They still do.
I remember my old girl and I getting one Banana Split but two spoons. We would laugh and giggle and lick ice cream off of each other’s noses - it was so much fun, and such a little thing.
Then a memory hit me hard. We took our banana split out to sit outside Dairy Queen. The local Bus Stop was right in front of our table on the Main street- it must have been eighty eight or eighty nine degrees outside. At the bus stop was a young mother with two twin five year old girls.
You could tell by the way they were dressed, and the fact that they were taking the bus, that they didn’t have a lot of money. The two tiny girls were looking at our banana split as if it were a feast beyond imagining.
My girl and I, looked at them, and then at each other. We merely nodded. No words needed. I headed back into the DQ to get more spoons. My girl asked the mother if her and the kids would like to share our banana split with us.
Well, we ended up buying two more banana splits before the five of us had finished. We put the small family in the backseat of my old Chrysler Newport, and drove them downtown to the Woman’s sisters house. She tried to pay us. We laughed.
“You already did. Those two kids of yours were a hoot to listen to…and watching them eat so daintily but without stopping was a lot of fun for us.“
It was a little thing, I guess.
The God of Little things was beaming.
He told me:
“This interview is going well.”
He offered me my second favorite thing besides cake: a donut.
And that brought back a memory of sitting on a bar stool at White Castle drinking a birch beer and eating a glaze donut. When in the door came another kid from my school. He was in my class, but I didn’t know him.
He ordered a birch beer and a glaze donut…looked over at my plate and said:
“You have good taste!”
We both laughed.
He is still my best friend. And that is no little thing.
I wrote about the interview as soon as I got back. I sent a thank you to Erica for assigning me the Interview. I answered my Old Girl’s phone call later that day.
“Hey, what’s up?”
I asked her in my most cheerful upbeat voice. My heart beating a thousand times a minute. She had moved on…I had not. I was’t stupid enough to tell her that.
“Hey, I just have to tell you two things.”
“Well, don’t keep me in suspense! What are they? Good things I hope.”
And I did.
“Well, you aren’t going to believe this, but I dropped a tray on a guy during lunch last month. We haven’t been apart since. We are getting married in July!”
In a way, I didn’t have to fake it. I had wished for her to meet her True Love, and she did. I just didn’t know the two were connected.
We talked about him for a bit. She thanked me for being the best “First Love” anyone could ask for. I blushed over the phone.
“Without you, I doubt I could have learned to love.”
I did cry when she said that.
“What’s the other thing?”
I could feel her smile right thru the phone.
“Oh, my Fiancee has a sister. When I went to his house to meet his Mom and Dad, and sister and little brother, they took me on a quick tour of the house. In his sister’s room was your article about “moving on”. It was blown up to poster size and pasted on the wall above her head.
I asked her about it. She blushed and said:
“Someday I am going to meet the guy that wrote that and marry him.“
I asked her, why?
“Because a heart that big will never hurt me. I don’t know where he lives, or what he looks like. But if he is breathing and showers regularly…I will marry him on the spot!”
Well, you can imagine her reaction when I told her that not only did I know who she was talking about in that article- but that it was about me. She freaked.
“Do you know where he lives? Do you still talk to him? Do you think I could meet him?”
I told her I could do better than that.“
“Sounds like I should meet her. When?”
“In about a minute. We are almost to your driveway…just come to the door.”
The door to the backseat opened. A girl dressed in blue shorts, a pink top, and a pretty little bow holding her bangs to one side popped out of the back seat. Our eyes met…she smiled a little smile… one filled with hope, permission and a touch of shyness.
My face must have looked the same. Because out of the corner of my eye I saw my old girl lean into her man and heard her whisper:
“It could be a double wedding you know.”
Up in his house, the God of Little Things took another forkful of the yellow cake with milk chocolate frosting. He sighed and leaned back with his eyes closed: