"Make One Another Perfect" - it was written on a small metallic plate. He usually kept it
in his left pocket.
His father died before he could remember. The only memories he had were from a few photographs and the stories his mother told
His mother died when he was 18. The years of struggle and sacrifice took a toll on her. He couldn't bear to sell their house
It was while idly fumbling through his mom's jewelry box that he found it. "Funny I never saw this before," he thought to himself. Maybe his mom had forgotten about it too. Did it mean something
to his parents at one point?
It was too late to ask now
His mind kept returning to it in the following days. Sometimes his thoughts would be interrupted
by it while at work, and it would change the way he saw his coworkers. Did they make each other perfect? Were they trying? Could they do it better?
He didn't want to admit that it gave him some amount of hope, silly as it sounded, that things could improve whenever he thought of it. It wasn't until a few months later that he got into the habit of carrying it around with him, as a reminder of what might be
possible.He had a habit of keeping his hands in his pockets
, and when he touched it, he would be reminded of its message again. Perfection was unreachable wasn't it? It didn't seem to do his parents much good. But it started to change the way he saw his coworkers interact.
Everyone had their own subjective criteria for what they considered perfect. For some reason, if he held it between his fingers long enough, he imagined he'd be able to gain some insight
into what each of his coworkers wanted from one another. If he held on even longer, they seemed to do just that, somehow figuring out what needed to be done to interface better with one another.
Surely he was imagining things. He would have to shake himself awake to return to his own work. It was a good placebo, if nothing else
. A good break from the monotony of the daily grind.
As the months went by, too often he'd be tempted to lose himself
in the daydreams that came while he held it. Were his coworkers really being nicer to each other now, or was he just imagining it?
Sometimes disagreements would break out and he'd find himself reflexively reaching for it like a safety blanket. Then different thoughts would flood over him. Were they really fighting, or merely negotiating? Was something better being sculpted
right before his eyes? It made him doubt his interpretation of reality.
Real or not, he preferred the positive spin his security blanket gave him. Whatever was really happening
with those around him, at least his own life became calmer, more hopeful, more purposeful.
Business was slowly improving. He didn't know if that was connected to anything. Maybe it was luck. Maybe it was randomness in the economy. Maybe it was just his own outlook changing how he treated his coworkers and their customers
It was hard not to want to believe something magical was happening. Sometimes after his shift ended, he would stay there, trying to focus on how the people around him were making one another better. "A silly pastime
," he thought to himself. But one he couldn't resist doing anyway.
"What are you doing," one of his coworkers asked one day, "always sitting there
instead of going home?"
"Imagining how things are improving," he said, handing over the metallic plate.
"Make one another perfect, huh? Nice, but it's not going to happen
"Yeah, you're right, it's just silly." He put it back in his pocket, embarrassed
Still, that didn't stop him. Sitting there watching everyone was one of the few things he enjoyed. He no longer showed anybody what he was thinking about though. "Just people watching," he'd say, hoping they'd stop prying
The years passed by. Coworkers and customers came and went. He imagined that he could definitely see improvement in the people who were there long-term. But that was probably just due to experience
, not some magic from an object in his pocket. Only crazy people could believe something like that, and he wasn't crazy.
At least that's what he told himself, even as he lost himself in daydreams.