“Cheer up,” said the mouse.
“No. I don’t want to,” said the man.
“Aw, come on man. I’ll bring you some cheese if I can get a smile out of you,” said the mouse.
“No. I don’t like cheese. I’m lactose intolerant,” said the man.
“I don’t know what lactose intolerance is, but I’m pretty sure intolerance is bad,” said the mouse.
The man sat against the wall. He rested his head on his arms folded over his knees. He felt his eyes watering with the tears that he was sure would come.
“C’mon man, a nice golden piece of cheese always cheers up my friends,” said the mouse.
“I told you. I can’t eat cheese. It makes me sick,” said the man.
“What!?! Cheese makes you sick!?! That’s…just unheard of,” said the mouse.
“Well, it’s true so just deal with it,” said the man.
The mouse scratched at his whiskers and sniffed the air around the man. He scurried around the man’s feet, back and forth, testing the air and rubbing his whiskers with his paws.
“You don’t smell sick,” said the mouse.
“Well, it’s not a sickness you can smell,” said the man.
“Us mice are really good at smelling things so, I’m pretty sure you’re fine,” said the mouse, “Plus my brother is a doctor, so I think I know what I’m talking about.”
The man lifted his head to look at the small brown mouse now sitting between his feet. The mouse was staring back at the man with a hint of a smile on his little face.
“A mouse doctor you say,” asked the man.
“Absolutely,” said the mouse.
“Where did he get his degree,” asked the man.
“Mouse-ouri State,” said the mouse.
The man smiled. A slight chuckle. A bigger smile. A belly laugh. The man remembered that sometimes, the little things aren’t as so awful as they might seem.
“See, you like cheese after all,” said the mouse.
“I guess I do. I guess I do,” smiled the man.