‘Super glue is all I need, really, so if you’ll just bring that back then I’ll be set, okay?’
I nodded after he said this, not knowing if I should have. I mean what else could I have done? Shrugged? Blinked a lot like I didn’t understand (I certainly understood)? Nothing? Well, it’s impossible to do nothing, since the human body is always doing something. So anything I would have done, facially or otherwise, would have been, yes, a reaction. It’s just that I nodded before I took the opportunity to make my selection.
‘Thanks,’ he said, and walked away, heading toward the den, where the TV was, where a game was ready to be played, where he would sit and munch and drink and yell and scream and stuff while I, the faithful roommate, went I got his beloved Super glue so that he would be ‘set’. What did that mean, anyway, ‘set’? The word itself has a plethora meanings, but to him it could have meant any number of things, I suppose. In this case, I figured it meant, in some ways, ‘satisfied’ or ‘happy’ or ‘appeased’.
See the truth is (was), I didn’t exactly know why he needed the Super glue in the first place. He had mentioned nothing to me. You can use the stuff for a lot of things, like gluing broken china back together, or glass or, well, pretty much anything, because the stuff’s really strong and all. I once got some on my finger when I was in college and it took days–no, weeks–until I could get it off completely. The stuff’s that strong. In fact, this old couple I house-sat for was using it and the man got his index finger and thumb stuck together. For a while there I thought he was going to have to be taken to the emergency room and have some surgeon saw his fingers apart.
Anyway, I went and got the Super glue for my roommate, plus some candy for me. I went to the dollar store–Super glue used to be a special commodity until a few years ago–and brought it back to the apartment.
Sure enough, there he was, sitting in that velvet chair of his–the one he found on the side of the road one day when he was in his twenties–cheering his ‘team’ on. Pathetic, I thought, as I dropped the small white plastic bag into his lap, which also held, at that point, an almost-finished bowl of tortilla chips.
‘There,’ I said, and started to walk away.
I turned around; he was standing and holding the plastic bag; the bowl of chips had dropped to the floor, overturned. He looked ecstatic.
‘Yeah?’ I said, dreading what he would say next.
I nodded and said, ‘Sure,’ then went to my room.
Later that night I thought of his face, how happy he had appeared. I wondered how much of that joy was due to my bringing him the Super glue and how much of it was because of the fact that he was doing precisely what he wanted to do at that particular moment. I fell asleep wondering, pondering, cogitating, you name it. All I know now is that for once in my life–in my entire life, mind you–I witnessed one person who believed he had found true happiness.