She never entered contests because she never won contests.  Why take the risk, the chance, when she knew, deep down, she never stood a chance?  That day she decided to take the chance. Maybe it was the coffee buzzing in her veins or the realization she had that morning that her life bored her.  She watched people and read about people living amazing lives. The kind of life she wanted to live. She realized she was tired of waiting so that day she took a chance to grab it.

She almost fainted when she won.  The tiny ball the machine spat into her palm was bright pink.  She hated pink, but there on one side was the winning number, 25. There were twenty other people around her, but she couldn’t hear their buzz of conversation.  She couldn’t feel the heat of the sun anymore. Everything was cold and floaty,2 and she was afraid. 

“Twenty-five!  Did anyone get ball 25? Anyone out there?” twanged the voice of her favorite bank teller.  The woman looked and walked around, checking balls and offering condolences and hop for next time in the same friendly breath.   She never understood how someone could both crush dreams and rebuild them in one shot, but Cindy the bank teller could.


Cindy found her swaying and clutching her ball.  The woman’s carefully plucked and drawn eyebrows rose in surprise to find her in the crowd.  “Rose! Did you play? Let me see your ball, hun! Maybe you won!” Cindy gushed the encouragement and held out her hand with a smile. 

Rose couldn’t look away from her clenched fingers.  It took an impossible amount of effort to peel her fingers away. When she did Cindy took the ball from her sweaty palm and checked.  Cindy’s arm shot into the air like a rocket. The ball held between two fingers so that the number 25 showed clearly.

“Ball 25!  We have a winner, ladies and gentlemen!  Thank you so much for playing! Cindy, come with me, doll.  You’ve won that cruise you always wanted to go on. Good for you!” Rose gushed and led her away.  Cindy could only follow in shell shocked silence, but slowly, a smile grew on her normally frowning face.  She’d won!

August 24, 2019 01:21

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