John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

Short story: What she did for him.


   In his mind it was always a brisk autumn afternoon, late in the day, the sun setting to a perfect pitch of comfortable grey and soft blue and delightful red. And because of that  he looked on this hot and humid July day as an annoying, tactless intruder. In fact, everything about that day annoyed him, not a lot, but enough to alter his naturally good and happy disposition. 

   As they walked he frowned at the bit and pieces of trash strewn in the gutter and he silently shook his head in disapproval of the type of people who would toss it there.  Then a cloud floated in front of the sun blocking out its rays and he raised his eyes to the cloud in a way meant to imply to the cloud that he was displeased with the cloud and its blocking actions.

   “Stupid cloud” he thought to himself but loud enough for the cloud to hear.
   “Look” she said pointing to the gutter that was besieged with the litter he so disapproved of.

   He stopped and looked and seeing nothing he asked “What?”
   “The dandelion” she said. “It grew from a crack in the sidewalk. Look at how pretty it is. Look at the colors”

   He looked but didn’t see the dandelion. But that didn’t matter. There would be other dandelions. What mattered is that she saw in him a man who would like to know about tenacious dandelions that grow out of sidewalks. What mattered is that she saw in him a man who would appreciate brilliant colors.   What mattered was that when he, in this foreign dark mood of his, saw only litter in the gutter, she saw flowers. And that was why he loved.