When the email arrived that announced this short story, I clicked on it and started reading quickly…then stopped–I was doing other things. I would wait a few minutes before continuing, as it required my utmost attention.
I read and re-read it. I followed this step several times, and I recommend you do the same. There’s much to gather in here.
Excerpt from “Appreciation”, by Therin Knite:
I am the most appreciated person in the world.
When I step outside my apartment on a cold, frosty day in July, the boy from three blocks down offers to shine my shoes for free. I give him a penny for the mediocre service anyway and send him on home to his mother-of-six who I saw plucking bread from a trash can last week. Today she peers down at me from her three-story window and gives a little wave and weak smile when I catch her eyes.
The postman who delivers the morning paper catches me at the end of the street and hand delivers my goods, tipping his hat and laughing to my fiftieth retelling of a comic column joke two weeks old. I love to humor people, and they love to humor me. That’s what it means to be appreciated.
Two trains sit at the station awaiting my six AM arrival, and I pick the one with the fresh blue paint because blue is always better on a gray day. The crowd on the platform parts before me and closes in my wake, twenty-five lopsided smiles being the best that the bleary sea of businessmen and women can manage. They get little better as the train speeds across the city, a woman in a faded red pantsuit beaming a plastic try-to-smile-but-grimace at me for five damned minutes straight.
So I pluck the notepad out of my pocket and write blue train riders in my curly calligraphy script that I spent the past three months in my little mountain cabin perfecting before my official title took effect. A sharp gasp bites at my ear drum, and I turn to see a young woman–a child, really–clinging to a week-old infant. Except woman with baby, I add. Messing with children can easily damage your level of appreciation; it’s best to steer clear in that department.
I await the next email announcement of another.