The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

Notes from Home

I’m watching an older man in a patterned shirt–some sort of Earth-toned hexagons–eating his dinner with one hand while holding his cell phone in the other. As I’m taking notes and a young boy at the next table starts stealing glances at my notebook. He has his hair slicked the way boys have their hair slicked for movies set in the 1950s. His little brother wears a vest and a tie, but this boy wears a t-shirt, striped knee socks, and shorts. It’s winter, but he’s obviously counter-cultural and counter-climate. He is with his mother and an older woman, and they each take turns opening late Christmas presents. He gets more socks, which delights him. This mother opens a package, “Mom, what is it?”

“A make-up bag,” she holds up the floral zippered pouch.

“Oh, that’s nice!” The boy says it kindly, with a smile toward the giver. He means it. He is grateful and engaged.

I am wondering if I can live in Colorado as I have lived in Turkey. Will I need to learn to write these stories again? Can I find the good in the familiar? The novel things jump out at me when a travel, so when I am home, can I keep my eyes open? I want to find these moments wherever I am.

The boy and I glance at each other out of the corners of our eyes. I suppose I have managed it here, to record his long hug to the gift-giver, how he picks up the wrapping paper his brother has dropped, how he looks after everyone and adjusts his striped socks. He gave me a gift by interrupting my notes, so he has been helpful in this case as well.

Budapest Alphabet.

6 comments on “Notes from Home

  1. joannerambling
    January 13, 2016

    I like the picture this brought to mind, thank you

  2. Maccabros
    January 13, 2016

    the writing on the wall,oh door…

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      January 14, 2016

      Read the writing on the door. And it’s the English alphabet too. The Hungarian (and German) have different characters in there. 🙂

  3. davecenker
    January 14, 2016

    I think each of is always traveling and always at home, at the same time. It’s in recognizing this that the very fact becomes unimportant. We are where we are, and beautiful things occur all around us and through every door when we have the curiosity to peek around the corner and crack open every door. I think you will do just fine, Paige – I’m certain of it 😉

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      January 14, 2016

      Ah, that’s a great point. I do need to keep looking for the novel things. It just means I need to keep exploring, even at home. 🙂 Thank you, Dave!

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This entry was posted on January 13, 2016 by in people watching, Travel, USA, Writing.

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