A Small Blue Robot Backpack

“We stood with Sally in front of the corner arts store and then my 2 year old threw his half eaten cookie to the pigeon. For a while after that, every time we passed that street corner, my son would point his finger and say, “Pigeon”. And I would think of Sally,” he finished the sentence and looked across the room where Steve was sitting.

“And you have not seen her since then?”

“Almost not,” he waited for a while then continued. “Well, I saw her one more time, at a fair. It was crowded and we almost did not get time to talk. She was thirsty and I accompanied her outside to get a bottle of water. She got two. We stood for a minute at the building entrance not knowing what to do, then somebody from her team saw her and she got pulled inside. I waited a little bit and walked to the parking lot. It would not make any sense to go in again,” he felt silent.

“I know,” said Steve. “Well, that was a while ago. Tell me what’s going in your life now.”

“I do not know. Everything is fine. You know,” and he pointed his chin towards the kids’ room. “Nick is healthy and growing, all of us are fine, and I think that at the end this is all that matters. Right?”

“Well, yes. A lot of times I think the same. How is work?”

“It is good. Very good, actually. I like our team and, also I have been meeting some amazing people lately. Really, met couple of other guys involved in what we do and they turned out to be smart. We became kind of friends. What else? I guess I am really into the projects we are running. Keeps me busy. Keeps me thinking about things that matter,” he felt silent.

“Well, this is really cool,” Steve nodded and stretched on the sofa.

It was raining and every time there was silence in the room they could hear the raindrops hit the windows and the cars on the street. It was late. After a while Steve took his sweater and walked to the guest-room. He was staying over. He was his best friend and they have not seen each other for a while.

Next morning Steve left. He had to catch his plane back home. They had breakfast together, he watched him pack. He stood in the middle of the doorway and tried to be helpful. Then he opened the door, hugged Steve, they both said how great it was to see each other after all this time. Steve left. He closed the door and turned the key twice.

He walked across  the hall, stopped at the window. He looked at the rain for a while not hearing anything, just watching. Then he shook his head and tried to put his mind back to work. Talking about Sally the day before did not do him any good. “Never share anything with anybody,” he thought to himself. Steve asked and he talked. That was it. Steve was his best friend and he wanted to talk. He did not know it would be painful. Not until now. “This is life. And there is nothing else to it.” No. He did not smile this time. He said it very quietly, watching the raindrops fall.

This was on Sunday. And now it was Thursday and it was raining again. Almost a week has passed. Lot’s of work got done, meetings, planning, talking, writing. And now it was Thursday night and he was tired. He walked to the dining table in the middle of the room and looked at the paperwork that was piled on it. His son’s enrollment to the preschool on the top. He signed the forms and put them inside a brand-new envelope. He placed the envelope on the kitchen table. He should not forget to mail it tomorrow. Then he opened his laptop and looked at the sites he used to read. He went through a new article about compassion and judgment and then switched to the conversion rates review. Then, he looked for the store where he and his wife bought all the things for Nick, and searched for backpacks. Nick will need a backpack for preschool. He liked the one with the orange robots on it, but the small size was out of stock. He called the customer service and they gave him the number of the store that still had it. He called the store and placed an order for the backpack. A small blue robot backpack. All in all it took about 15 minutes. He kept looking at the image of the backpack on his computer screen hoping for a vague feeling of satisfaction. He tried to imagine the excitement that Nick would feel when he sees the backpack. And he felt silent.

The rain was falling heavily outside of the window panes. Its noise distracted him. He looked outside, peacefully, and after a while thought to himself, “This can’t be all there is to life. I know life is much more than that. It really is.”

He moved closer to the window and lightly pressed his forehead against the cold glass. “Do not ever share anything with anybody or you will end up buying a small blue robot backpack on a Thursday night.”

Barcelona, February 28th 2013

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