It was an awful day. An awful year.
Sorting through the coins in my pocket,
by the feel of their sizes and weights in my hand,
jammed deep in the space below my hip,
I am hurrying to give the clerk correct change.
Behind me a line of people are silently willing me
to break the twenty I hold in my other hand.
But at last I feel the penny and dime
and hastily pull them out to lay on the counter.
Like a living creature, the penny jumps from my hand,
dancing and twirling on the dingy floor, before rolling,
irretrievably to a dark crevice in the recesses of the toe-kick.
The clerk sighed in unison with the weary shoppers
praying for me to move on. She quickly uttered, “Forget it! It’s just a penny!”
Blushing and muttering apologies, I quickly exited the store, carrying the bag of
impulse purchases to my car and drove away.
I felt dreadful, stupid, and lethargic, as though
I was succumbing to some unknown strain of the plague –
the very thought bringing on a massive, hypochondriac’s headache.
My panicky imagination soon had the blood draining from my head.
I was certain I was dying and felt oddly relieved by the knowledge;
the gun I had purchased weeks ago would not be required
to put a final end to my misery.
I pulled the car over to the shoulder, and feeling death seduce me,
I willingly awaited his icy fingers to grasp my arm,
and levitate me to my fate. I fell asleep.
I was jarred awake by someone rapping on the window,
motioning me to lower it. She had a worried look,
as I groggily complied with her concerned request.
Something about her appearance was familiar,
but I was unable to place her in any known context.
“Are you OK? I’ve been worried about you
since you stumbled out of the store.”
Then I knew. She was the harried clerk who had saved
me a penny only a short time ago. With a stutter
I told her I was dead, and expecting to see a halo encircle her head,
I heard a giggle escape her mouth. “Honey-child, if you’re dead,
then I’m talkin’ to a corpse, and you are the alivest corpse I’ve ever seen!”
Once again, the sense of stupidity overtook me
but was quickly followed by an overwhelming feeling
I could only describe as well-being. I felt myself smile,
for the first time in ages, and heard in my mind’s ear
the shuffle of a fresh deck of tarot cards.
Something stopped me from cutting the deck.
I already knew my fate, and it was my own to determine,
as it had always been, and always would be.
Noting my apparent revival, the woman patted my shoulder
and turned to leave. “Wait, please! Don’t go just yet.
Would you mind if I gave you a kiss?” Pointing to her cheek,
she nodded, and drew herself closer to the window.
I stretched my neck to reach her,
and planted my lips gently on her face.
Without another word, she turned and left.
Happily I started my car and pulled back onto the highway.
It wasn’t until many miles later as I pulled into my driveway,
that I suddenly realized that the name on the tag
she wore on her breast was
I wish you all, my Gentle Readers, the blessings of enough. . .