A Matter of Being
The loud clanking, metallic sound of the lock commenced. Andrew turned and looked up. There were more sounds of gears moving as the door knob began to rotate. A current of air blew over Andrew as the great door swung open. Moving his eyes down to floor level, Andrew watched the brown, shiny street-car size shoes pound their way on the wooden floor.
Above the shoes came a whooshing sound, as the dark green cuffs to the pants swayed back and forth. The floor beneath Andrew shook with each footstepts the shoes took. The shoes were heading for a small office building size table. Andrew ran over to them. Stopping just behind the heels, Andrew could see his reflection in the highly polished leather. Best as he could, Andrew bent his head and back. The dark green trousers ran up well over a hundred feet. The drapped over the trim and well formed body to his friend Jose.
Andrew Pickett lowered his head. He of late, had been feeling very depressed over his situation. Six months before, Andrew was of height as his friend. Living a life like those billions he shared the planet with. Dreams of advancing his career starting a family being a good friend. Now his he found himself standing nexrt to his buddy who towered over him like a building.
That day which changed his life, started as any regular day in his twenty four years. Going to the gym to workout, Andrew found himself caught in a freak atmospheric discharge. Shirtly after arriving at the gym, he shrunk. And his friend has taken care of him ever since.
Andrew moved toward the front of the monster shoe. Stopping near the front, Andrew looked up as best he could. A giant hand slipped into a room size pocket. It pulled out a bunch of ship anchor size keys. A few seconds later, Andrew heard them being tossed on the table. "If I just stay here as Jose turns, all of this pain can end." Suddenly, Andrew backed away. He started banging the palm of his hand against his forehead. "Selfish, selfish." Andrew realized the majoy pain he would be causing his close friend if let himself be crushed under the shoe. "You idiot Andrew, Jose would never forgive himself."
Andrew began to run from the shoes. Running up to a pole size leg to a lamp Andrew stoopped. Turning around, twent five year old Jose Ribera squinted his eyes trying to spot his friend. "Hey Andrew, you there?" Andrew waked away from the metal pole. He waved his right hand up weakly. Seeing the tiny man, Jose smiled, and as slowly as he could, Jose walked over to Andrew. He began to crouch down. A pressure of air from all that great mass descended down upon and pushed Andrew back a few feet.
Gigantic legs the size of buses jetted out and up in the air on either side of Andrew. Jose's calm and tired face looked thoughtfully down from many stories at him. Andrew looked up at the slightly olive complexioned friend. Jose had those Latino good looks. Dark clear eyes that had kind of an Asian quality about them. Full strong lips. And sported beneath his white and blue pinned stripped shirt was a pair of broad shoulders. Even though Jose worked in a law firm he still found tme to work out. Jose wore his hair close shaven except near the top where let it grow a few inches.
A deep rumbling, mixed with the sound of thick material being shifted began as Jose sat on the floor. Andrew while happy to be in the presence of his pal felt at the sametime pathetic standing next to Jose whose bulk was that of a small hill. Andrew wanted to run and hide. Jose tilted his head and gave Andrew a warm look as he said, "How was your day. See anything good on the pod?"
Andrew could not talk. He felt if he did, he would cry. Scratching his head and feeling the tension, Jose said, "Oh, Walter will be coming over." Andrew nodded. Leaning over, Jose took his index finger and slowly ran it up and down his friends frail tiny body. "You ok? Can I do anything." Andrew shook his head.
Jose knew the pain his long-time friend was having. He just didn't know how to help him. "Want me to place you back up on the table Andrew?"
In a very weak voice too low and feeble for Jose to hear, Andrew replied, "I'll stay down here."
Seeing Andrew back away, Jose figured his pal wanted to stay on the floor.
Jose got up and went to his bedroom. Andrew just retreated into the shadow cast by the coffee-table.
Sitting and leaning aginst the bottom of a leg to the coffee table, Andrew heard the doorbell to the apartment chime. He stood up and went to the edge of the shadow. Dressed in jeans and a white tank top, Jose went to the door. "Hey, Wally."
At the door was Walter. A slightly thinner man than Jose. He was of Asian background. Ha a crop of thick black hair parted in the middle. And he wore glasses that gave him a kind of studious appearence. "Hey Jose," replied Walter.
Andrew watched as they gave each other a firm embrace. He couldn't help and smile. Andrew wasn't making fun of them. It was just different for him. Andrew always found it amusing for the girls really went for Jose. Not just for his good looks, but for who he was. Jose found Andrew, was a hard worker. He would always be there for friends. Took part when he could in community affairs. Jose was just a big hearted guy. "And he is my friend," thought Andrew with pride. Andrew's heart went black. "How can I be a friend like this?"
In Jose's bedroom, Walter pulled out of a shirt pocket, a tiny, black felt covered box. "Whats this?" asked Jose.
"Open it up and find out."
Opening the box, Jose saw two shiny gold plated cuff-links. "Hey, those are the ones I saw in the store with you last weekend. Wally, you shouldn't have."
"I wanted my lawyer to look good."
Hugging each other, Jose began to give cry. "Whats wrong?" asked Walter.
Moving himself away from Walter, Jose moved over to the window and looked out at the city. "Its Andrew isn't it?"
Turning to Walter, "Yeah."
"Have you guys thought about a lab. I'm sure they would help. And doesn't Andrew have a girlfriend?" questioned Walter
"He does. A really nice girl Jenny. But, he didn't want her to see him like this. And he was afraid the lab or medical people would see him like a lab rat or something."
"I don't know what to do or say," said Walter.
"I don't either.
A short time later, Andrew heard the door to Jose's bedroom opening up. "Ill talk to you later," said Walter who left the apartment. Jose came slowly out.
Andrew came out from beneath the coffe table. Spotting his friend, Jose sat on the floor and gave out a sigh. Andrew walked up to the side of the denim cladded thigh. Forgetting his own pain when he saw Jose was down, Andrew patted the thick blue material, and shouted up, "What happened?"
Hearing the mosquito like squeaks of Andrew, Jose looked down, "Nothing, not really. He thought I had some issues to work on."
"Jose, its me, isn't it? I'm getting in the way of your life."
Jose did answer. Instead replied, "I need a drink." He stood up. Andrew backed away as his friend seemed to expand and expand into the air. The trembling made by Jose as he went over to the liquor cabinet caused Andrew to fall down.
A couple of minutes later Jose came back with a glass and a bottle. Andrew watched as the huge white socked covered feet of Jose's came right up to him. After they stopped a rush of air followed and flowed over him. A wall of denim next descended down before him. "Have a drink with me," said Jose who lowered his mighty hand. Andrew jumped on. Jose placed his hand before his left knee. Andrew jumped off on to the knee and sat down. "I have Voldka muscky," said Jose trying to sound Russian. He poured from his glass a little bit in the cap from a tub of tooth paste the he had cleaned out. "Aaaahhh," sounded Jose as he took liberal gulps of his drink. Andrew followed the lead of his friend.
Andrew never had Voldka. After he took a swig he felt nothing. Several seconds later he did! "Wow," Andrew responded to its belt in his stomach. Looking up at the impressive face of Jose that was now getting its early evening shadow, "Did I cause your friend to leave?"
"Don't worry about it."
Andrew took another sip from the cap. He waited. Then, Oh yeah!" Becoming serious again, "If I'm getting in your way. Well, maybe we can go to the doctors or something."
"Wally is a cool dude. He's not leaving me. And I don't want you to either. If you want to keep staying here." Jose gave Andrew some more Voldka. Both were starting to feel, "Happy."
Andrew looked down at the expanse of Jose's knee. "Hey, Jose watch this." Andrew pushed himself off the knee down the smooth surface of the denim. Andrew flew off the pant leg and onto the soft white cotton surface of the foot. Jumping up and down and waving his arms, Andrew shouted, I want to do it again."
Jose made a smirk and reached down. Taking his friend between two fingers, Jose could feel the beating of Andrew's heart and his pal's thin, frail ribcage. Andrew was so very small compared to his fingers. He looked so vulnerable. And Jose knew his friend was which tore at his heart. Jose thought of the different kinds of people who could have found Andrew. "Some would see Andrew as a toy. Others might treat him as their own pet. Or worse." He shuddered at the thoughts of what could happen to Andrew.
Placed back on Jose's knee Andrew looked up at Jose. He saw tears streaming down. "Jose whats wrong? Tell me?"
"The tears of men are precious and never should be wasted. How can one so small be so great. Andrew, I'm small with you."
"I don't understand Jose."
Andrew with serious heart, turned back toward the denim slide. As he went down it again, it reminded him when he first met Jose. It was when he was in the second grade. A bunch of kids had gathered around a slide at school and started picking on the young Jose. Andrew came over and told the bullies to leave him alone. Two kids, Andrew had to belt to get the others to leave. There sitting on the egde of the metal slide was Jose. Andrew invited him home and that is when they started their close friendship.
Andrew was blown from his memerories when he fell face down onto the warm sock material. When Jose placed him back on his knee, Andrew hollowered up, "People seeing us would think we were mad!"
"Think we were mad? A guy letting a tiny guy slide down his leg? Yes, I think they would," replied Jose with humor in his voice.
The two friends had more drink.
Jose placed Andrew back on the floor when he had to use the bathroom. Coming back, Jose told Andrew kiddingly, "You look like a mouse."
"Then you must be the cat." Andrew made a few high pitch, squeaking sounds.
Jose gave Andrew a big grin. He placed his hands down on the floor on either side of Andrew. Positioning his backside up in the air, Jose lowered his front like a cat and started to make growling sounds. Andrew began to run making zig-zag motions between the giant hands. Jose sent one hand careening over the top of Andrew's head. As Andrew ran away making squeaking sounds, Jose folowed making sounds like a cat.
Jose sprang up and over Andrew who looked up in awe at the sight of one so very big. Jose came down with an earth shattering thud. The vacum of air generated by his colossal bulk pushed Andrew back many yards. Andrew was enjoying himself.
Later, feeling spent from the fun and the Voldka, Andrew laid down on the floor to sleep. Jose seeing his friend sleeping soundly didn't want to disturb him. Feeling tired himself, Jose stretched out on the floor next to Andrew. He curled an arm around his buddy.
It started to thunder. Soon it became a storm. And the lightening flashed madly. Jose smiled looking down at Andrew. The lightening took Jose to a summer before they were to enter middle school. They had been with other friends camping out in this unfinished wooden hut in a field. A lightening storm had appeared. Several of their friends began to leave when the lightening intensified. Jose was trying to persuade Andrew to leave. Andrew was standing firm---he was going to weather-it-out. Jose began to leave. Seeing his friend all alone, huddled under his blue parker, Jose went back to his friend. "Ok, you satisfied now?" asked Jose a bit angry.
"Well, we're pals. At least I hope you saved some of those chocolate covered marshmello cookies. And if you didn't. I'm going to sock you." Andrew lifted an unopened bag.
Jose smiled thinking about that and other times. He then drifted to sleep.
In the morning, when Andrew woke up, he saw a white wall before him. This white wall appeared to be expanding and retreacting. As his eyes cleared, Andrew realized it was Jose's chest beneath his tank top. Andrew stood up, he tried to see the time. The wall clock was to far up for him to tell. He bagan poking Jose in the chest.
"W-what," said a groggy Jose.
A squeaky, pipping voice replied, "When do you have to be at work?"
"Oh !@#$," replied Jose getting off the floor.
His sudden, giant movemnts caused Andrew to fall back onto the floor. Rubbing the back of his head, Andrew said, "I'm getting sick of this floor."
Jose in his bedroom, madly threw his clothes on. He gathered a few stacks of paper and jammed them into his brief-case. Coming back out of his room, Jose saw Andrew. His friend was in better spirits; still, Jose worried. "Andrew I'm taking you to work with me." Picking Andrew up, he quickly deposited him down his pants pocket. Andrew rolled over the folds of the inner-pocket til landing at its base upside down. As Jose walked with hurried stepts to his car, the coins that were in his pocket kept smacking up against Andrew.
Jose pulled up to the Drive-up window to a McDonalds and ordered a few things. The warm tempature and stale air of the pocket was making Andrew groggy. Though, the smack from a nickle or quarter in his face woke Andrew back up.
Jose looked at his watch in the office building elevator. He sighed with relief, he still had a few minutes before his first client.
Inside the pocket, Andrew shifted position. Jose could feel his movements. Patting his pocket, Jose thought, "Who would have ever known I'd be carrying a friend in my pocket."
The elevator stopped at one floor where a large group of people squeezed on. One rather fat man bumped into Jose. Groggy, Andrew shouted, "Watch it you idiot?" The fat man only heard a faint squeak.
Once in his office he took, Jose took Andrew out of his pocket. He placed him on his desk. "I picked up a few things for us to eat. But we have to do it quicklyf," said Jose.
As he ate, Andrew looked around at the vast landscape to Jose's office. It was very posh. Elegant black leather furniture. Huge picture windows that looked high above the city. Andrew looked up at Jose and was very proud of his friend. He then threw his crumb of a bagel down. He felt like a nothing again.
Hearing voices outside his office, Jose rolled up his food. Picking Andrew up, "I'll place you in a drawer." Jose put him in the middle drawer of three that ran down the right side of his dark wood desk.
In the semi-darkness, Andrew listened to the conversation. The person, Jose was talking to, seemed always to be shifting the conversation back to himself. At one point, Andrew said out loud, "Oh give me a break. Get on with it." Hearing it, Jose had to refrain from chuckling.
During lunch break, Jose and Andrew talked a little. Jose could see Andrew was still troubled. And he knew he had every right to be.
Later in the day, while Jose was working on a forms for his clients, his secretary buzzed him. When he was done talking, Jose told Andrew, "I just got a call. It was from Jenny. She wants to stop by this evening." Andrew's eyes widdened.
"Do I look ok? I mean, less the height," asked Andrew trying to be relaxed.
"You look fine." Jose placed Andrew on a table in his living room. "And you are ready for this?"
Rubbing his two tiny hands together, Andrew squeaked, "I think so."
When the doorbell chimed, Andrew started to pace around several books. Going to the door and before opening it up, Jose looked once more at Andrew. He then opened the door. Stepping in was a lovely woman with long brown hair, wearing a light pink evening dress. Kissing Jose, Jenny said, "Its good to see you again."
"Good to see you Jenny. How have you been?"
"Its been hard without Andrew."
Jose replied, "Speaking about Andrew..." He then stopped. A tall man with blond hair stept in.
"Oh, Jose this Adam."
"Nice to meet you Adam," said Jose who glanced over to the table.
Andrew's face fell. And he ran behind a vase. "I just saw something running on your table," said Adam. "Could be a roach." Going over to the coffee table, Adam picked up a magazine and rolled it up. "I'll get it for you."
Jose went over to Adam,"No, its ok. I'll take care of it."
"Ok, whatever you want dude," replied Adam.
Andrew sitting at the base of the light cried.
For a few minutes, Jose chatted with Jenny and her new boyfriend.
When they had leff, Jose went over to the table. His heart sank when he saw Andrew crying. "It has been over six months Andrew," said Jose softly. Andrew nodded his tiny head. "I-I'm hear for you buddy." Jose placed a had down before his sad pal.
Andrew stood up. "Isn't it funny? The whole thing. What was I expecting?"
"Don't be hard on yourself..."
Andrew interrupted, "What do you know." Andrew kicked Jose's index finger. "Ouch!. !@#$! I can't even do that. I'm so pathetic. Why do I even live?"
"Well, you do live Andrew. And I'm glad. And..."
"Oh shut up. You don't know. I should smack you one," said Andrew turning red with many emotions.
"Ok, then hit me. Get it out of your system."
Andrew looked up at Jose's very thoughtful face, "Huh?"
"Be a man---get it out."
"I am a man. Your too big."
"Oh, now your too small. I thought you said you were still a man."
"Well hit me Andrew," replied Jose pointing to his face. Andrew just stood there in silence.
Jose took one hand and pushed Andrew into the other. "Hey!" shouted Andrew.
Josh stretched out on the floor and placed Andrew before him. "Now hit me. You said you wanted to."
"Aaahhh," shouted Andrew who stood before the gigantic face. He lifted his arms. They shook. "Why did this happen to me?" He took a swipe at Jose's nose. "I loved her." He threw another punch. "I don't belong to anyone." Andrew began to hit and hit Jose's nose.
After a space of time, Andrew stopped. Hunched over, he walked on unsteady legs to the side of Jose's head. And fell to the floor.
Turning his head to the side, away from Andrew, Jose thought, "I hope he will want to survive."
Andrew was rocking back and forth when he spotted something. Getting up, Andrew staggered to the top of Jose's head that was resting before him. He began to push the longer strands of hair aside. Jose feeling Andrew's tiny hands in his hair and scalp, wondered what he was doing.
Andrew found a reddish colored groove. He was able to put his hand into it. "I remember that." He went around the house size head to the front of Jose's giant face. "Jose, are you awake?"
Two huge brown eyes opened up. "Yes."
"I saw that scare of yours that you got as a teen."
"Yeah, that was a nasty cut."
"I remembered," said Andrew. "I couldn't go and see you in the hospital."
"But at home Jose, I really prayed for you. I even began to get pains in the top of my own head."
"Thats what I meant by men's tears are precious. And I'm small like you." Andrew placed a hand on top of Jose's upper lip. When Jose began to speak, the air rushing out of his cave like mouth pushed Andrew back. "And you do belong. You belong to me. And everything in my life. I want to be there for you. And in whatever way I can be."
Andrew, with peace settled into his new life with Jose. Sometimes, they would talk well into the night. On those evenings, Andrew would sleep on the side of Jose's pillow.
Jose began seeing his life partner Walter again. Even when they were cuddled up on the coach watching a movie or television show, they would invite Andrew to join them. He might sit on their shoulders or in their lap.
Walter would past gift ideas for Jose with Andrew. And Andrew would tell Jose, when he would get to busy that he should spend more time with Walter.
It was a life Andrew had never invisioned for himself. Andrew would think from time-to-time, "If other people were affected by that atmosphereic discharge, I hope they fell into such human hands as Jose. And felt they belonged."