#25 Jose

by Dee Shapiro

I sent Jose to get groceries. He read everything back to me on the list; two oranges, a quart of 2% milk, a box of cereal and blueberry yogurt. I gave him enough money for the Korean grocery, the Chinese Bodega as he called it.

He lived on the floor above me in a three-story walkup where everyone knew each other but kept pretty much to themselves. Jose asked to see my paintings when he saw me dragging canvases into my apartment. I let him in that once and every time he would knock gently on the door. He appeared almost daily and then not for a week or two.

We didn’t talk much. He preferred to sit and watch me paint. When he had enough, he got up from his cross-legged sitting position on the floor and left.

He lived with his mother and sister and didn’t seem like he was in trouble or high.

I could have stopped working and gone for the groceries myself, but instead enlisted his help, thinking he would like the responsibility.

That evening, I knocked on his door. His sister seemed surprised to see me “Jose?” “Not home, went to his father’s house uptown. Won’t be back ‘til next week.” Well. I thought, so much for responsibility.

A week later, a gentle knock. I opened the door and there he stood holding a plastic bag and handful of change. “It’s all here” he said, and thrust the bag at me.

5 comments:

Alison DeLuca said...

So simple, and so lovely. Very nice - this little slice of another life.

amessoffeathers said...

Very sweet and real; simple and yet it stands alone as a true micro story. Nicely done.

Bruce Roush said...

The ending made me smile. Guess Jose was operating on "island time".

Sam Knight said...

Well done. The life that moves outside our field of view is a rich one. It is often we think we know things about people, but we don't. This illustrated that wonderfully.

Jade said...

I agree with the others; lovely and complete, thoughtfully painted characters.