The little things matter.
The Little Things
A Short Story
I had just left the house, holding the leash of my blond Chihuahua, Luke, walking down my street, smelling the earthy smells, and listening to the intriguing chirps of the magnificent birds. After watching Luke examine his favorite bush, I looked up towards the park straight ahead. It was a little park, with a cozy grass field, a two set of swings, and a small slide. On the right, it was bordered by a sidewalk protecting it from the street, on the left; it was walled off by a fence. Behind the fence was a neat row of beautiful houses, each side by side. As I looked at the field, I noticed a man who seemed to appear out of nowhere. Peculiar. This man looked familiar, like someone I knew very well. He looked like me, and I couldn't believe it! I'm too far away, that's it. I'm just imagining things, I reassured my curious mind. But nonetheless I wanted to find out who this was. He was standing on the grass field looking around on the ground as if searching for something. As I got closer and could see him more clearly, I noticed he looked like me. A doppelganger perhaps? Luke noticed him as well and seemed a bit confused. My palms started sweating as we were only ten yards apart. It was like walking closer and closer to a far away mirror. I suddenly got the sense that something was off, besides the fact that he looks just like me. The man looked up and immediately noticed me. I could make out his expression- an angry one at that. Why was he so angry? Or maybe he was just squinting to see me better? No, I know what I look like when I'm angry and he's got the perfect resemblance. He started to walk towards me faster than I was to him.
"You!" The man shouted with an angry tone, along with a strong foreign accent.
You mean "me" I wanted to say.
"I need to have a serious talk with..."
He was rudely interrupted by Luke's loud barking. Luke had lunged himself towards him and was keen to show off his ability to make himself noticeable. He was a very loud dog for his size. The man shouted something in a foreign language and astonishingly, just like that, Luke stopped lunging, sat down on the grass and buried his face in it as if ashamed. He was dead silent. Nothing was making sense.
The man continued as if nothing happened. "You, why do you leave your dog poo all on the grass, it's disgusting, no? Why is it so hard to pick it up? I want the grass to have no poo, is that too much to ask?"
He didn't seem to notice that I looked just like him, or at least he didn't care. I wanted to say something, but as I tried, the only thing that came out of my mouth was a weird noise I didn't know I could make. I noticed my mouth was wide open and immediately closed it as if it was the only weird thing that had happened today.
The man resumed. "I have a brother, little brother-"
I then imagined what my little brother would look like if I had one.
He continued. "-he wants to play catch on the grass, but instead comes home with poo on his new sneaker, he always leaves the house smelling bad. I see other families bringing kids here to play but all this poo is a problem, how can such a small dog have so much poo!" He sighed. "I will help you so you won't have an excuse. Take these!"
He took out two small plastic bags out of his pockets and threw them at me. I reacted in time to catch them despite being half stunned. Luke looked up a little like he was checking the scene, but after seeing the man who looked like me; Luke put his head down quickly. So there I was, standing in a grass field with a man who looked just like me, who apparently I've never seen despite him living so close to me, yelling to pick up my dog's poo. I got the sense that this man had rehearsed this, waiting for the moment he could yell at me and set me straight. I was still very confused. How come he looks like me? Did he even look like me, or was I just going crazy? Why didn't he seem to care that we looked alike? It's not every day that you see someone who looks like you, or is it? Maybe it's more common than I originally thought. There are so many people in the world after all.
He could tell I was lost in my thoughts and decided to do something about it. He raised his hand and flicked me on my forehead like it was the normal thing to do. I put my hand on my face and started to rub where I got hit, it stung.
I cried "Hey! What are -" but he didn't let me finish.
"Listen" He replied. "You look like a nice guy, very handsome, but you have to start picking up poo or I have to call the cops"
Did he really care so much about something so little?
"Just so you know, I live there-"
He pointed to the row of beautiful houses, the ones side by side behind the fence. He pointed to the fifth one from the first house on the left. It happened to overlook the field, how convenient for him.
"-I will be watching when you come here" He continued, "I will make sure you pick up poo. Oh, and another thing."
He opened his mouth and made loud alarm clock noises. I put my hands over my ears immediately and realized instantly I was dreaming.
I woke up with a start and was breathing fast. I turned over to the right side of my bed and hit my alarm clock as hard as I could. I hate that sound so much I thought. Luke glanced at me curiously for I had awoken him from his beauty sleep. He looked happy to be up and left his bed to join me on mine. What a weird dream, I was trying to remember exactly what happened. I took a look at my alarm clock, this time without the intent of assault. 7:00 am. I had the sudden urge to take my dog out on a walk. I could hear my sister upstairs and my parents down stairs all getting ready for the day. I was getting over my dream, and started to remember a little more. Something about Luke? I thought, or some guy? Ya, ya some guy who looked like me. I got up and changed into jeans and a T-shirt, then I pet Luke, picked him up and started going downstairs. Luke was warm and soft, the perfect thing to wake up with. I greeted my parents, hooked up my blond Chihuahua to a leash, gripped it tightly in my hands and stepped outside. As I did so, I gained full recollection of last night's dream. What was it all about? Then it hit me like a light bulb. It was so obvious I didn't know how I hadn't realized it before. The man I met was myself conscious. That's why he looked exactly like me and unfortunately was also why he was angry at me. I hadn't realized how myself conscious would make a big deal even out of the little things. Even if it's just cleaning up after myself, in my case my dog. I continued to walk down the street with Luke by my side. I wonder if he had met his self conscious last night too I thought. I could see the park. The same little park, with the cozy grass field, the two set of swings, and the small slide. I reached the grass field and saw that Luke was eager to begin the feces process. I looked at the neat row of beautiful houses, side by side. The fifth one from the first house on the left had one window open just a little. Looking up, I noticed someone was inside watching me and my dog. He sort of looked like... but it couldn't have been, could it? Before I could finish my thought, Luke tugged on the leash looking eager to continue our routine. I redirected my attention towards him, and reached into my pockets. I felt two small plastic bags, and pulled out one. When did I put these here? I thought. I shrugged it off and took one of them out, and inverted it. I picked up Luke's creation, he looked very proud that I was acknowledging his work. I tied it up and threw it in a nearby trashcan. Before leaving the park I glanced over at the houses, focusing on the fifth one from the first house on the left. The window that had once been opened was closed. I felt the smallest sense of closure, almost feeling good about what I did. So I continued walking down my street, smelling the earthy smells, and listening to the intriguing chirps of the magnificent birds.
I guess the little things do matter.