On the Short End

by L. Allison Stein

She remembers being young, peering over the edge of the kitchen counter, spotting the ceramic cookie jar that was fashioned to look like Felix the Cat. There had been a small, fire-truck red stool, bought just for her to stand on; to do more than glimpse; to revel in the big person's paradise of unlimited access. It was with the help of the stool that she had finished half the cookies in the jar, and then helped her mother make some more to refill it with. That little red stool was transported all over the house, enabling her to reach new heights no matter where she was; much to the chagrin of her father, who was tall and clumsy and always swore as he tripped over it, stubbing his big toe. She remembers that stool now, some twenty years later, wearing four inch stilettos and waiting in line at the coffee shop with a counter fit for giants. She wishes she still had that stool as her feet ache, her calves throb, and the barista behind the counter continues to serve only those he can see across it.


L. Allison Stein remains small in stature, but big in heart.