Girl Afraid
by Daniel Stern
Arthur was a handsome gray mouse, and stereotypically, lived in a hole in the wall of a suburban home. He foraged for food, and in the worst of times, had to escape the wrath of the family's cat. In his home were objects which to a person would seem random, but inside his mouse-brain, these things were furniture, keepsakes. Arthur usually was awake from early evening to early morning, and had passion.

Arthur's favorite place was in the room of the young lady of the home, a girl who carried a backpack, and wore skirts, and had black hair. She would often start a sequence of events in which the older humans would speak to her, and she would speak louder, and by the end, they were expending a lot of energy, moving around abruptly and talking very loudly! This is when Arthur would run to her room, and wait under her bed; the girl would come in, slam the door, grab a wide black disc, and put it into a box. She would turn of the lights, lay very still, and such lovely sounds would come out of the box, and they were always different and filled Arthur with emotion.

The discs all came out of flat squares with the lovliest colors on them, and pretty words. Arthur particularly liked one by "The Smiths," because the man talking over the other sounds did so in such a pleasant manner. It was very different from the way the house-man talked to the girl, and in an odd way, listening to the man in the disc made Arthur feel closer to the girl, like they were somehow connected. Arthur could see very well in the dark and sometimes when watching from across the room, he could see the girl lift her face out of her pillow, and small rivulets of water would slide down her oval face, and in these moments Arthur found her the most beautiful.

For a very long time did Arthur hide under the bed and listen at nights. These were the moments where his thoughts all made sense, where he made life-affirming decisions and felt genuinely real. The girl would fall asleep and Arthur would go into his little home, and he would move things around and hum what he'd heard to himself. He would read for awhile, and then he would go to bed, where, before falling asleep, would have his most fantastic ideas. One night, he decided he would introduce himself to the girl, and could barely sleep because of the anticipation.

Each night, before she went to sleep, the girl would turn the small light next to her bed on, put on different clothes, and flip a switch on the box which she put the discs into. The night after he had his idea, Arthur was elated; she had even listened to his favorite disc! As the disc was closing (Arthur had memorized it), he slowly walked out and gulped nervously. She turned on her lamp, and sleepily walked over to the small chamber where her other clothes were hanging, and quietly changed. She turned around and saw him, and he made sure to smile his biggest, showing all of his teeth. Arthur stood in place and she quietly walked over to him, slower than she usually moved (she must be shy, too!). Arthur politely flashed his teeth again and got up on his two hind legs, chittered excitedly, and extended a small foot for her to shake. She stopped and her eyes widened, and Arthur let out a loud chatter of glee. She was excited too! She walked over to him, slowly, and lifted her hind leg too, so that is was right over his head. He was so happy just to share in the shadow of her foot, and then, she lowered it..
Posted by: Daniel Stern

Prose (June 22nd, 2007)