It’s not even an inch long, unless you count the tail, which makes it about two inches long. It is a white mouse, crafted from a wooden tear-shaped bead, scraps of fabric, and paint. It’s not anything you’d ever want to own but ended up with quite by accident. It happened over ten years ago when you were working part-time a craft store. One night while running the register, a chubby woman dumped packages of miniature mice, ribbon, and greenery onto the checkout counter for a tiny Christmas dollhouse she was making. You remember it because she wouldn’t stop talking about the little mice and their new home. One of the packages of mice was torn and as she tossed it on the counter, little mice rolled everywhere. You were picking them up and, in the flurry of the moment, one of them ended up in your pocket as you emptied your hand to operate the register.
Later that night, you discovered the mouse emptying your pockets. You sat it on your desk by your watch, lose change, and wallet. Over time, it found a place amid pens, post it notes, and mangled receipts. You didn’t think much about it at first; it was there like the souped-up Hot Wheels version of your first car. It was so small it never got in the way. It seemed to get caught in the magnetic field of all of the other junk on your desk. You scooted it around when you needed to and you scooped it up and tossed it in the box labeled “Desk” every time you moved. The mouse even survived moving over one thousand miles away and back. When you bought your Mac mini, it found the perfect home, resting on top of that slick, shiny CPU. It’s been there, everyday, watching you with beady black eyes for more than a decade.
It’s not the mouse itself that means so much to you. It’s because it reminds you of her. It’s the fact that she noticed it when nobody else did. She touched it and thought it was cute. She picked it up and studied the work that went into making it. She loved how you kept it on your desk with your computer and your "other mouse." It’s special because of all the things you own, it made her smile like a little girl. It’s also the only thing in your apartment that remains of your time together. It reminds you that you never know how long you’re going to have someone in your life. It reminds you how the little things matter. It reminds you to believe in fate. It reminds you that you’re alive.
Kim Smith © 2009