Updated: Aug 30, 2021
The Love Poem on a Grain of Rice
Copyright 2012, Paul Hawkins
Thirteen years ago when they were young and in love and could hardly afford anything, Jack and Janet had been walking in the mall and come upon this kiosk that said “Your message engraved on a grain of rice – a keepsake forever!” Right then and there Jack said,
“I want to put a love poem on a grain of rice for you, Janet!”
“But Jack – it’s $19.95 – are you sure we can afford it?”
“To heck with money!” Jack declared. “I want the whole world to know how much I love you!”
And so he went up to the indefinably ethnic man running the kiosk and dictated the poem to his eternal love right then and there:
“Janet you’re the one for me,
I’ve known it since we met,
And now it’s on a grain of rice
So no one can forget!”
It brought her to tears. Jack was so moved by her emotion that he forked over the extra $9.95 to have the grain of rice enshrined in a 10 carat gold(ite) necklace (not guaranteed not to break).
Well the years went by and lucrative professional success came to Jack and Janet both, in medical and legal careers, respectively, and sad to say they grew distant from each other as well. But over the course of one emotional marriage-mending retreat sponsored by their vaguely protestant stadium-sized suburban church, love sparked anew, and each sobbed and fell into the other’s arms and apologized for letting their once strong flame grow cold.
“I – I love you Janet!”
“I love you too, Jack. I’ll never take you for granted again!”
Then Janet said, “Say Jack, remember all those years ago, when we were young and poor, and you spent everything you had to get a love poem written on a grain of rice for me? I wonder if we still have it?”
Jack demurred. “I’m pretty sure we lost it long ago in moving.”
“No, I think I still have it. Oh, wouldn’t it be fun to look at it again?”
“I’m pretty sure you lost it, hon. I remember you saying so years ago.”
When they got home Janet beat Jack to her jewelry chest and sure enough, there was the cheesy locket with the grain of rice inside.
“Oh, let’s look at it under a magnifying glass!”
“I don’t know… you know how rice erodes.”
“No Jack, I don’t know.”
“Well, I’m pretty sure it does.”
She turned a suddenly suspicious gaze at him. “What are you hiding, Jack?”
“Why, this isn’t even the same grain of rice!” She looked at it closely. “This is Minute Rice!” A few minutes later she had removed it from the case and examined it with two magnifying glasses stacked on top of each other.
“Okay, I got mad at you years ago and flushed the damned thing down the toilet. Then I instantly regretted what I’d done and put that in its place.”
They stood stewing and staring at each other for a long while…
You want an ending? Long story short: She was a lawyer; he was a doctor. Guess who won? That ended up being one darned expensive grain of rice.