The Notebook

Jacques heaved out another box out of the tiny apartment. What a surprising load of stuff people kept in their houses! Potted plants - not the flowering variety but some sort of mini vegetables...what were they called? Sprouts? Herbs? All of them were being shipped off to that socialite-activist lady who was in the news recently. Something about aerosols and insects and the ozone layer. Whacko sort, he imagined, hoping to God that there was no bomb tucked away in any of the boxes. And then he smiled. Probably just a crazy old lady who collected strange plants the way some old ladies collected cats.

Plenty of books as well, Jacques noted. He'd know, he had packed 8 cartons full of them! And these were going to an university down south. A will beneficiary, he supposed, probably a cherished and much-suffering nephew.

He stepped into the kitchen for a drink of water. Nice view, he thought, though it might seem lonely to someone living alone. Outside on the ledge, he noticed a slim notebook and cursed under his breath. Why did people leave their stuff in such unlikely places? A notebook on the window-ledge indeed!Like he was a bloody maid to pick up after them. Normally there was any amount of sentimental rubbish that people thought they just could not live without but left in all sorts of places. The odd thing was this crazy plant-lady had been fairly immaculate with her possessions.

Jacques sighed and opened the book, wondering if he could just toss it into the trash. Who would notice one single missing notebook?

To go alone from a mountaintop on a twilight summer evening on an untended grassy patch...warm breeze turning just bearable, insects chirping and a distant stream flowing. Stars in a sky not black yet and the moon sliver-like. Incomplete. And then complete.

Suddenly he was interested. There was something about peeping into other people's lives and watching their silly idiosyncrasies. That was probably why he stuck to this crummy job. Packing people's stuff and lugging it around may not be the best job in the world but it did allow him to look into other people's lives without them realising it. He shook himself and read the next page.

Give me an evening
with the stars starting to shine
and an incomplete moon

Let me go with the vision of all that is perfect and complete
As well as the thought of all that still remains to be lived
Life and the universe will go on

I have done my share
May there always be water for every thirsty mouth
And a song for every melodious voice

No more lessons, no more games
No more fanfare, no more pomp

A celebration of one in a crowded world
Let that be my final bow.

Jacques shut the book gently. And then he did something he had never done before. He picked up the tiniest pot with a single baby basil plant in it and put the notebook into his pocket. As he walked out of the empty apartment, he tipped his hat to a lady he had never met.

Goodnight, Julia.

The End

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