The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Peace. Or The Days When You Could Fit Your Knees Into Your Shirt.

They’re early for Mass, the Dad and his tiny son. The boy totes a plush Luigi from Super Mario Brothers. He wears black and neon yellow shoes that light up when he walks. When they stop at the pew, the boy’s fingers clutch the end as he kneels in a perfect genuflect, following his Dad’s example.

During the readings, he is less engaged. He sits with his knees up to his chin, tugs his red shirt down over his knees. He boxes himself in, pulling his arms in from his sleeves, and smiling up at his father. His father smiles back, then feels a wave of pressure that perhaps he should be exhibiting some discipline. He scans the neighboring old ladies–all beaming at the boy who has turned his t-shirt into a home. The dimple in his pre-school cheek will get him anywhere.

Later he frees himself, jumps up as the Our Father approaches. He delights in holding his Dad’s hand and mouthing the words he’s not too sure of yet. After the prayer, he knows it is time to shake hands with the adults around him, to say, “Peace Be With You.” His Dad nods toward an incredibly tall elderly man on their right. The tiny boy balances himself to take a few steps across the kneeler, cranes his neck all the way back and all the way up, and raises his tiny arm for a handshake. The man cranes himself down to wish the boy peace. As he lumbers back to his Luigi, to his place beside his father, blinking lights down the aisle, the boy seems peaceful indeed.

–Loveland, Colorado

flower photos, Colorado

Coming soon: A Tour of Mom’s Garden

7 comments on “Peace. Or The Days When You Could Fit Your Knees Into Your Shirt.

  1. Christina
    October 1, 2012

    I can’t wait for the garden post!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      October 1, 2012

      If I were a better photog, it would be ready already. Alas. It’s going to take a while to show off the massive scale of this year’s flowerbed!

  2. Enchanted Seashells
    October 1, 2012

    Gorgeous flowers, can’t wait! In deserty SoCal, I love to see that flowers can actually grow!

  3. marsellaj
    October 2, 2012

    How cool is this…I live in Fort Collins!

  4. annedesa
    October 2, 2012

    Different blog. Beautiful pics. Your mom’s garden is heavenly.
    Thanks for your like on my post, it brought me to yours 🙂

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      October 2, 2012

      Thanks so much for happening on by. 🙂 The garden will be revealed soon (as will my poor photography skills, I know, but it will be good for the imagination).

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