The Mouse: A Short Story

Sit down in the corner of a crowded room. Close your eyes.

You’re a mouse. You’re so tiny that nobody can see you, and you have every right to people-watch to your heart’s content. You can paint pictures, write words, and create castles, all from your imagination’s soul.

North. A fashionably dressed couple holding a whispered conversation about things only they understand. Her hair is dark and her skin is fair. He wears a gray and green scarf over a dark blue sweater. Her smile is rare, but her eyes glow when he looks at her. He loves her laugh, and relishes every poetic word that escapes her lips as if they were words from his most favorite novel.

North East. A grandiose window. The only thing grand about it is the view it presents to viewers from the inside. A few short steps, a black metal fence, and a sign welcoming travelers to the pilgrims’ kingdom. Today the people are wrapped up tight in scarves and hats, gloves and boots, as the wind roars around them and threatens to sweep them off their feet in a well-meaning though not-so-well-executed embrace.

East. A wall. It’s a blank canvas, but for now there is nothing particularly interesting about it so you leave it alone.

South East. The corner you find yourself in. It’s oddly cold for being such a cozy place, but you figure it’s the wind blowing through the cracks in the window and down from the chimney.

South. You.

South West. A secret exit. Or is it a secret entrance? You don’t especially wish to find out for fear of being caught by a sly cat wearing a dashing blue cloak. Maybe next time.

West. A lone man with a beard. He’s wearing a pretty darn nice grey beanie over his tousled brown hair. He bends over his pasta and chicken with a few spinach leaves on the side like nothing else is as fascinating in that moment as his pasta and chicken with a few spinach leaves on the side.

North West. Besides being the name of a very glamorous child (or maybe it’s just her parents… who really knows anymore?), there are two round tables shoved together in a very close-proximity friendship. The friends gathered round it laugh boisterously as one gives another an uncomfortable amount of hugs. There doesn’t seem to be any end to their fun. For a moment you wish you were with them. It quickly passes.

By now you have finished your cheese and crackers and it’s time to leave this party, however intriguing it might have been. You rub your eyes. You open them.

The room is empty.

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Scene 3

Scene:

A cave-like classroom. Second floor. Room 272.

Object of interest:

A panda pointer. Left-handed desks. Horse-shoe configurations.

What draws me there:

Laughing so hard we can’t breathe. Two feet up. A face peering around the doorway.

Music:

一个,两个,三个小朋有。两只老虎。对不起。

Spoken:

Hesitating syllables. Lessons in sharing the gospel. Scripture.

Emotion:

Right lane.

Scene 2

Scene:

A quiet little room. Fourth floor. West wing.

Object of interest:

A quaint little typewriter. A few Polaroids and fairy lights. Owls.

What draws me there:

A friendly face. Shining eyes rimmed by glasses. Cheeks framed by chestnut curls.

Music:

The Phantom of the Opera. True vinyl. Whirling melodies.

Spoken:

Soft, nostalgic reminiscing. Stories over hot leaf juice. Giggles.

Emotion:

Books.

Scene I

Scene:

A quiet little room. First floor. West wing.

Object of interest:

A mischievous bolster. E’s a plenty. Fairy light accents.

What draws me there:

A beautiful smile. Peace and shared confusion, both. 2am conversations.

Music:

Jazz. Soft piano. Sometimes there are words.

Spoken:

Puns. Blatant and subliminal sarcasm. Completely normal squeaking.

Emotion:

Home.

Real

I’m learning to live life in the moment.

Are there things I want to remember forever? Yes. Are there times when the leaves are just so beautiful that I can’t help but take a few photos? Yes. And I think that’s okay, as long as I spend time to just be. I can experiment with lighting, color, and angle because that makes me happy. But it’s also important to just breathe in the cold air and let my eyes drink their fill of beauty without the viewfinder.

Are there things I want to tell the world? Yes. Are there times when something reminds me of someone and I have to tell them right then and there? Yes. And I think that’s okay, as long as I make sure to spend real, quality time with people away from the distraction of the cacophony of Internet voices. We can subliminally say “I miss you” with a general post. But it’s also important to look them in the eye and just be together.

When something matters, I make real time. Even if that has to be a video call because of distance and scheduling, it’s personal and real. It’s not like just shouting into a void of followers. It’s for them: that one person in that one pocket of time.

I’m learning to distinguish what’s real. A lack of posts and likes between good friends separated by distance shouldn’t mean the friendship is dying. It just means we’re waiting for those wonderful moments when we get to give each other our full, caring, personal attention.

Perhaps some of the strongest friendships are those that carry on despite distance, not because of social media, but because they know how to use social media wisely.

~*~

Earlier this evening I came across the following video that really speaks to my thought-process, so I wanted to share it with you, too. **there is a swear word at 1:12, as a heads up if you’re uncomfortable with that**

Stories from 4FF4: Life is a Gift

In the morning, I thought of you and smiled. 

It still aches. It hurts to remember that you’re not here.

And yet, somehow, I feel as if you’re still here. Your smile is alive and well. Your laugh rings through our hallways and the little family room in your split-level house. Your kindness still touches us.

I know it’s because you’re more alive now than you ever were on earth. You’re singing and dancing in Heaven.

Every day that you fought was a moment from God. Every day was a blessing. Every day was more time: more time to love you, to write to you, to laugh with you, to pray for you.

Life is a gift we too often take for granted. We don’t see the multi-faceted beauty of its reflected light until it’s suddenly snatched away, snuffed out like a candle. Even then, it’s easy to scorn life, to think it’s not worth living.

But I think the fragility of life lends itself to our task. It creates a renewed urgency to love the people around us all the more.

Life is a gift. Why waste it standing by the side of the road when we could be walking alongside others and being part of their story?

He might not have lived as long as I and others would have desired. But in the years he was given, he walked alongside countless individuals. He shared the gospel, he loved people, and he gave of himself for others as Christ sacrificed Himself for him. He lived the gift of life to the fullest for God. 

I want to live like he did. Won’t you join me?

Overwhelming, Never-Ending

His love comes after me. He breaks through my passivity, opens my sleepy eyelids, and kicks down my walls of flippancy. He brings life to my numbness, warms my frozen heart, and aligns my path to His.

My stumbling, hesitant footsteps had begun to drag. Where was God? He was all around me, all the time, and I was reminded of His love practically 24/7. But my heart was closed and my eyes were stubbornly shut. It wasn’t that He wasn’t there. I wasn’t willing to receive His grace. I didn’t want to take another step, deeper into that ocean, to leave the shore even further behind.

He left the ninety-nine to come back and find me.

He pursued me when I wouldn’t pursue Him.

He took my hand and led me closer to Home.

// Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God! //

~*~

Inspired from “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury