As you can tell, I am a collector of everyday stories.
Here is another one…
One afternoon, Martha Sweeny, was in a coin laundry outside her hometown of stonewall Texas, when half a dozen young motorcyclists suddenly roared up to the gas station next door.
They were all a boisterous, rough-looking lot, and one of them – younger than the other, no more than seventeen – was the loudest and roughest-acting of the bunch.
With several of his friends, the boy entered the laundry, and then something happened when he looked around this small, rural town – and, especially when he notices this older woman observing him.
In one of those revealing moments we’ve all lived through, Martha made eye contact with the boy and saw him hesitate.
Later after his friends had gassed up their cycles, he told them his starter was on the blink to go on without him. He said he’d catch up.
After the others went roaring off, the boy brought some dirty clothes into the laundry. “His shoulders sagged as if he were terribly weary.
Dust and grease and sweat stained his shirt and jeans. A beginning beard faintly shadowed his chin and leans cheeks. He turned, briefly our eyes met again. Emotions flickered across his face – doubt, longing, pain?”
Moments later he ran his clothes through the washer and dryer, then disappeared into the men’s room.
When he emerged ten minutes later, he was wearing clean pants and shirt and he had shaved his scraggly beard scrubbed his hands and face and even combed his hair.
He now grinned in Martha’s direction and jumping on his motorcycle, zoomed away.
Not following the others, but going back the way he’d come – back toward home.
Every time I read this story I get a lump in my throat. And that is the aim of the stories. To evoke emotion. To bring out a single tear.