( A short story)
Well, I’ve done it again; I’ve managed to ruin yet another relationship, because apparently I’m good at it.
The worst part? I actually liked her this time.
I take a frustrated bite of my donut and shove my hand in my pocket, my feet dragging along the sidewalk.
“You’re a good guy, Marvin” she’d said with a soft smile, “And I like you, a lot. But I think you have some things you need to work on.”
She means the fact I “don’t put effort into anything”. Which is total bogus! I put effort into stuff, sometimes. Ok, maybe I don’t have a job right now, but I’m working on it. And to be fair, Ava is a small town.
I take another bite of my donut and sigh.
To be perfectly honest, I really don’t think I’m cut out for this relationship thing. I’ve never really been good at managing my relationships in the first place. I mean, when was the last time I called my mom? Or my brother?
Or my dad?
I shove the rest of my donut in my mouth and shove my other hand in my pocket.
Why should I call him? He was never there for me as a kid so there’s no reason I should try and maintain a relationship now. I mean what kind of Dad is he anyway? He left my Mom when me and Joe were kids. I didn’t even know he existed until I was seventeen. Sometimes I wish he’d never tried to reconnect with me.
I kick a crushed coke can down the sidewalk, hard, and sigh again.
What a joke my life turned out to be.
“Don’t you ever get tired of feeling sorry for yourself?”
I look around for the voice, surprised that someone knows what I’m thinking, but no one is there.
I must be hearing things.
“Yes, I’m talking to you, you who walks around like you have nothing to be thankful for.”
Now I know I’ve heard someone. I turn around in a circle, looking for the owner of the voice but the only thing I see is a mouse, perched atop an old wooden crate. He blinks at me, running a tiny paw over his whiskers, and then he shakes his head.
“Boy, humans are dumb”.
My mouth drops open, for I have, beyond the shadow of a doubt, just seen a mouse talk.
“W-what? I mean how-“
But the mouse interrupts me, lifting a tiny paw, “I know, I know, talking mouse, blah blah blah. But if you think that’s weird then just look at yourself, moping around. Who mopes on such a beautiful day?”
A tiny spark of indignation lights in my chest, “Well umm, I think you would be moping too if you were me”.
The mouse laughs, a tiny squeak of a laugh, “I know for a fact I would not, because mice know better than to mope. We simply haven’t got the time.”
I open my mouth to reply, but he interrupts. Not a very polite little mouse.
” You know what your problem is? You look at the wrong angle of things. Us mice never have that problem. It’s our job to make sure we explore every angle, because you never know what you might miss.”
I blink at him, confused. But he rambles on.
“Yes sir, that’s your problem. Instead of thinking about all the bad stuff, think about the good. Look for the cheese instead of the worms.”
“Cheese? Worms?” I clench my teeth, annoyed, “Look, little… mouse, you know nothing about me. You have no idea what I’ve been through.”
“Hah!” The mouse scoffs, “You think life isn’t hard for me? I’m a mouse for heaven’s sake! I have to eat moldy cheese and scrounge around. But do we mice complain? No! Because we know that complaining does us no good. Trust me, I learned that the hard way.”
I stare at him, thinking I really must be out of my mind. There’s no way I’m having a conversation with a mouse.
“Tell me,” the little mouse says, “Is whatever you’re going through really bad enough that you would trade it for happiness?”
“I try to be happy,” I say slowly, “but its kind of impossible for me right now”.
The mouse scratches his ear, “That’s because you’re looking at it wrong. You don’t choose to be happy because of your circumstances, you choose to be happy because that’s what you want to be. If you let circumstances determine your happiness then well, you’re not really human, or mouse for that matter”.
I nod, surprised at the wisdom of his words, and even more surprised I’m agreeing with him. It’s laughable really, talking to a mouse I mean. But why wouldn’t it happen to me? If I really think about it, of all the crazy things that have happened to me so far this probably isn’t the craziest.
“So…what do you think I should do then?” I ask, scratching my chin.
The mouse shrugs, if a mouse can.
“Do what you want to. And do it because you can, not because you have too. That’s what life is about, taking risks, living for the here and now, enjoying the cheese so to speak”.
It’s true, and it took a talking mouse for me to realize it. I take a deep breath and smile, still thinking that I must be out of my mind, but not really caring anymore. Alright then, I’m going to do it. I’m going to really try and whip my life back into shape, whatever it takes. Because the mouse is right, I am tired of feeling sorry for myself.
“Thank you, Mr. Mouse” I say, and reach over to shake his tiny paw with my pinky.
He grins a big toothy grin, “No problem. And it’s just Mouse” he says, “We mice don’t really bother with titles.”
1 thought on “A Mouse and Man Problem”
I can’t think of a better word to describe this story than charming!
This story is absolutely charming!
Have you ever considered writing a book?