Little People

Quinn walked in and laid down his work bag. He said, “Darling I’m home! Where have the fish gone love? Are you cleaning the tank?” There was no reply. Erin’s car was there – maybe she was in the garden. He went outside beyond the roses, but didn’t see her. Then he saw her inside the house, peering at him from the sunroom. Had she been there all along? He went inside and said, “Didn’t you hear me, love?” She didn’t say anything. “What’s happened, darling? Is everything alright?” She rushed towards him and hugged him, and burst out crying. “Love, love, what’s the matter?”

“I wanted to tell you, but I couldn’t. I thought that you’d get angry again. They arrived this morning and I had to put them somewhere.” She stopped talking and continued sobbing. “The only thing I could think of was the fish tank.”

“So what have you done with the fish?” She better not have flushed them down the toilet, thought Quinn. I know they didn’t cost me anything, but those fighting fish are worth $100 each.

Erin pulled away from his shoulder and said, “They’re in the bath. Do you think they will be ok there? It’s only for a day or two. I promise I’ll get my own terrarium. Can you make me one? I’ll get the glass tomorrow.”

“Hang on, hang on. So you don’t need the tank for other fish? What’s it for then?”

Erin took a deep breath and said, “Little people.”

“Did you say little people?” Erin nodded. “Little people?” She looked scared now. He better calm down. The hottest girls are always the craziest. They live on the edge of imperfection. There’s no point in complaining about it now. It’s part of the package you sign up for. “Darling, where are they now? I mean, why didn’t you put them into the tank, their nice new home?” She welled up again. “What have I said now? Really, I’m not trying to be mean to you. I’m just trying to make sense of this situation.”

“You can’t see them,” she said.

You can’t see them?” He looked into the fish tank closely. Gravel and greens remained, but no signs of life. “You mean that they’re in there now, but they’re invisible?” Erin nodded. “And how do you know that they are in there rather than sitting on the toilet, or chilling in the fridge?” Erin looked scared again. “Darling, I’m going to take a shower. Let’s chat about this later. I’m not sure how to deal with it right now.”

Quinn took a long shower, shaved, and trimmed his nose and ear hair. People seemed to think it was ok to have strings poking out sideways. It wasn’t. It made you look creepy. When he returned to the lounge Erin was composed. She’d touched up her makeup. Hot and crazy. She said, “You know my friend Shaka?” Quinn nodded. He’d heard the name, but had no idea who this was. “She invited little people into her home in spring, and she says that they’ve changed everything. Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. They have special energy – it’s like reiki, but they use their whole bodies not just their hands.”

Quinn couldn’t resist saying, “Their invisible bodies?”

Erin didn’t flinch. “Yes their invisible bodies. I know you think I’m wacky. But think about it. What is the most wonderful thing in the world?”

“Em… love?”

“Yes, love. Can you see that? Right! You can’t. And something else?”

“Er… beauty?”

“Yes, beauty. Of course we can see beautiful things, or we have beautiful feelings, or beautiful thoughts. But can we actually see beauty? I mean, as a thing itself? You’re shaking your head. You know that we can’t. And the same for truth, and wonder, and faith, and joy. We can’t see any of them directly – only their manifestations.”

Quinn was feeling bamboozled. He’d just come home from a hard day’s work. It wasn’t fair to hit him with this. He liked her style though. Her passion. He always had. Her belief in what she was saying. Was it different from people believing in God, and angels, and the devil, and ghosts? The resurrection of Christ, the world emerging from Brahma’s navel, a winged horse flying Muhammad to heaven, or Moses talking to a burning bush? These worldwide myths required belief in the invisible and the impossible. Billions of people swore that they were true. People that he didn’t know or much care for. And this one crazy lady believed in little people. The woman he loved, who loved him too, and meant more to him than any other little or big person in the world. Her belief in him and her love for him were invisible too. But he knew that they were real. These things acquired Presence.

He would take good care of these little people, he decided. After dinner he said, “Darling, do they like it there in the tank?”

“I think they’re happy,” she said.

“How about the lighting? The temperature? Humidity? Ventilation? All good?”

She looked at him bright eyed and said, “All good my love.”

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