My fingers thumped rhythmically as I dragged them across the row of exposed energy drinks. Finding my desired section, I planted my feet and swung about face, shoving my hands deep into my pockets. I stared at the RockStar stacked at eye level. “It’s bad for you!” a small voice squeaked out from the back of my head. Yeah, well, what isn’t these days? My hand found its way from my pocket to the cold can, plucking it from its kind and swinging down to my hip as I turned and made my way to the register.
I stopped to give a longing look at a Snickers bar. Fuck you, peanut allergy. I briefly flirted with the idea of undergoing 20 minutes of a swollen and itchy mouth just to satisfy a temporary craving, but decided against it. It didn’t matter, Twix was favorite anyways, as I snagged the wafer goodness from the shelf.
Standing in line, I stared at the woman behind the register, trying to decide on whether or not small talk was in my immediate future. She was an older gal, mid 40’s, with a line creased face, and an expression pasted across her face that I knew all too well, having worked retail myself. This was the look you had when you were present in body only, mind adrift. Rita, the nametag read back to me. Glancing up from her chest, I took my place as next in line, and noticed her eyes for the first time. There was a vibrant youth there, with a hint of sadness, as if her eyes knew the surrounding features betrayed them and spoke of her true age.
“Hi hello. I’ll take this, and also a pack of smokes.” I greeted her. She turned in place, snatching the cigarettes as she spun, showcasing a kind of effortless grace, impressive in its own right, yet not worth bringing attention to. The type of move she had performed countless times before. As she started to ring me up, I half opened my mouth, ready to spout some sort of nonsense meant to generate a meaningless conversation. Instead, a heavy sigh escaped my lips, and I glanced down at my “healthy” haul. Energy drink, chocolate, and smokes. Ah, the lunch of champions. Rita muttered my total, her eyes firmly fixated outside the window. As I reached for my wallet, something caught my eye.
There sat a lone lottery ticket, just to the side of my purchase. My eyes dug into it. The last one. That’s got to mean something, right? Shrugging, I flicked the ticket towards Rita, adding it to my total.
Once outside, I took a deep breath and cast my eyes upward. Clear blue sky on a bitingly cold day. Placing my freshly purchased belongings on top of the car, I stop for a moment to zip up my hoodie, and tug my beanie tight around my ears. I reach back out to grab my things.
An energy drink, chocolate, some smokes, and now this lotto ticket.
As I contorted my body to squeeze into my car that was obviously too small for me, I set these 4 items in the passenger seat. Little did I know, this purchase was one that would forever change the course of my life.