Here is a simple, short story capturing the moment a young boy first learns how to feel compassion. Also, this story is meant to be a sobering reminder to be grateful for God’s blessings. If interested in any other short stories by me, feel free to check out some of my older pieces like The Vanity Mirror, The Wager, and The Guest.
by K Marie
Tommy’s cat pushed open his bedroom door and let herself into his room. This happened every morning. With the door open, his family’s morning activity would wake him up earlier than he wanted. He angrily threw the blanket off himself and got up.
“Stupid cat,” he thought.
He prepared to quickly make the bed, only to find that the left corner of his green, fitted sheet had yet again slipped off his mattress. He yanked the sheet over the best he could only to have the sheet slip off again. He fell back onto the bed exasperated.
His mother knocked and opened the door the rest of the way. The cat quickly dashed out.
“Morning, Tommy. I just finished up a load of laundry,” she said in a chipper voice, “where would you like me to dump your clothes?”
“Wherever, Ma. I don’t care. Just dump it on the bed next to me!”
“Alright, grouch,” she replied as she dumped the laundry.
One of the metal buttons on a pair of his jeans was still pretty hot from the dryer; it landed on his shin. It wasn’t scalding but still hot enough to feel. Already annoyed, he decided to take the opportunity to make a bigger deal out of it than necessary.
“Oooooowwwwww!” He howled, “Ma! It burns! How could you?”
“Oh jeez! For a twelve year old boy, you certainly are a drama queen.”
“It burns! Burns!”
She rolled her eyes, “Whatever. Get up. I talked to the lady across the street. I am going to do some of her laundry over here. I also invited her son over to play some video games with you.”
“You mean that stinky kid, Kurt? Come on, Ma!”
“You shush, Tommy. Kurt’s mother needs some help, and her poor boy doesn’t really have any friends.”
“Yah, because he is stinky. Besides, the tray on my gaming system keeps jamming and won’t come out. He can’t come over and play video games,” Tommy huffed.
“No excuses. You can get the thing to work when you feel like playing. Now get going.”
Grumbling to himself he plodded out of bed and pulled out his game system. It was an older model, and for months now the tray that the game disc would go into would get stuck. He pushed the eject button. It made some electronic clicking noises and wouldn’t open.
“So sick of everything being such junk around here,” he grumbled to himself.
He clenched his fist, pushed the eject button, and struck the top of his system with his fist to loosen the tray. The tray finally came out. He inserted his favorite game as he heard the doorbell ring. A few moments later, Kurt, skinny and grubby looking, stepped in and smiled. He looked around Tommy’s room as though he were in the White House.
“Yo,” Tommy replied glumly.
“Your room is awesome! What a huge bed! Look at all the cool clothes you have!” Kurt exclaimed.
Tommy looked over at his bed with the skewed fitted sheet, then at the pile of clean clothes that had branded his shin earlier.
“Yah, I mean…I guess it’s all pretty nice,” Tommy replied.
“Can we bring your cat in here?”
“Why? She’s totally annoying.”
Kurt shrugged, “I saw her at the door. I wish I had a pet.”
“So, why don’t you get a pet?”
“It’s kind of expensive to keep a pet. My ma can’t really afford it…” He trailed off, “Wow! Is that your game system?”
Kurt looked over at Tommy’s game system like it was as precious as the Hope Diamond.
“Yah. I mean, it’s nothing great,” Tommy replied, “They have newer versions. Plus, the game tray jams,” Tommy said as he stuck the top of it with his fist to get the tray open.
Kurt cringed as though Tommy had just struck him instead of the game system.
“I read a lot about them and always wanted one. I’ve heard of that problem happening. If you just press gently…right here, the slight pressure will make it open just fine.”
Tommy took Kurt’s suggestion and gave it a try. It worked.
“See, That way you don’t really need to smack it,” Kurt said with a caring smile. He picked up one of the controllers and began admiring it.
Tommy looked over at Kurt’s grubby, kind face. Tommy suddenly felt remorse for calling him stinky earlier.
“Thanks, Kurt,” he said, “want to pick out a game?”
Photo Attribution: Video Game Joy Stick Courtesy of Pixabay