Nobody ever dreams of finding love in a toothpick. After all, it’s barely a sliver of wood. But sometimes the simplest things in life teach the biggest lessons. The trouble is nobody knows how or when it will happen. I certainly didn’t.
For years I had ribbed Mother about her habit of leaving toothpicks on window sills in the living room. Whenever I pulled back the curtains, I found toothpicks waiting for anxious teeth. They waited anxiously at not just one window but at nearly every window. Some even waited on the baseboard. I hated Mother’s toothpicks, and her idiosyncrasy began picking away at me.
Until one day, and it goes without saying what happened.
How it happened is still a mystery. Was it my subconscious? Was I thinking about Mother when my toothpick found its way to the ledge of my window? I don’t know, but I gasped in disgust. I had broken my vow never to be like Mother.
Suddenly, a brother’s accusation that I laughed just like Mother was no longer humorous. “Not so,” I had chortled then. Now I knew it was true — my laughter is a cackle facsimile of Mother’s. Toothpicks and laughter. Anything else?