Little Things

Donuts and coffee at the kitchen table, the morning light streaming into the breakfast room, and another half hour remains before we have to leave for church. Bill has the latest issue of the Independent Weekly before him, and I see there in the table of contents that this issue holds a review of the latest Tarantino flick. I want to read it.

Bill knows this.

“Would you like to read it?” he says, even as he turns to the review itself where it resides on page 41.

“Yes,” I say, and then “No,” because I know that this will mean Bill’s surrending of the Independent Weekly to me, and I don’t want to take it from him, as only moments before he was sitting there alone with his donut and coffee and enjoying the Independent Weekly by himself.

I say this. I say, “If you let me read it, then you won’t have it anymore. You will give it up. That is what will happen.”

But it is too late. Already he surrenders it, turning the paper its ninety-degrees, pushing it toward me.

He says, “That is what is happening.”

Now the paper is before me. “That is,” he says, “what has happened.”

And I don’t look at the article right away. Neither do I look at him with deep love and appreciation for his small but significant sacrifice.

No. Instead, for a moment, I am lost in the glories of the English language, in the subtle and vital fluctuations of verb tense and suffix, the small changes that Mean Everything:

will happen
is happening
has happened

Little things like that can almost Make My Day.


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