Easing the Ache of Exhaustion

The boy sits behind the desk of his mother’s nail salon.

You see at his back are boxes of pumice stones. At his feet are boxes of body creams.

He could be nine or 13, you’re not sure. He stands up to greet people. Then his mother zips in and takes over, directing people to choose a color from the swivel tower of polishes.

You know they will find a maraschino cherry red, a crocus purple, a few may go for the spearmint green, and then they will sink into the massage chairs. They will type and tap, scroll, scan, and swipe.

The boy, who may be taller than his mother now, has on red shiny gym shorts, glasses, his t-shirt advertises a nearby credit union. When nobody is coming in the door, you will see him slouch comfortably into the office chair behind the desk and open up a comic book by a local cartoonist who made it big.

If you watch the boy with his comic book - and you need to watch him, you won’t hear this - and you watch him for long enough, you will catch a grin itch at the edges of his mouth. Then it pulls back into a silent, delighted chuckle. You will see his braces. You will see his shoulders shaking. You will see his young, gentle spirit.

And you will know there are some sweet moments that can ease the exhaustion of the piercing, painful moments, which grab, stab, jerk our attention. And you will know that we can only catch these sweet moments if we look up to see them.

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