The winning ticket! I held it in my hand and stared at the numbers in disbelief. Surely, I thought, this is a mistake. A colossal error on the part of the lottery commission. I’ve got to make an appointment with the eye doctor. These little black digits indicating a match are the stuff of fantasy. I ran for my cheaters, put them on and read the numbers separately as I slowly scanned across the thin scrap of yellow paper again. I compared each one separately to the numbers in the online readout. Over and over, one at a time, I read and compared until they appeared to pop up off the page like Mexican jumping beans. I dug the magnifying glass out of my desk drawer thinking that it was a cosmic joke played on me by the universe. After all, I couldn’t possibly be the winner of all of those hundreds of millions of dollars.
But, yet here they were, layed out in dizzying black on yellow before my eyes. What, I wondered, with a sense of anxiety budding deep in my gut, would I do next? Who should I call or text first? I stood transfixed, there at my kitchen counter, mouth agape, chin tilted downward, head in a cloud of confusion. My vision became blurred, the edges fuzzed, the ringing in my ears heightened to a shrill whistle. “Damned vertigo.” I said to myself. “This news is good. A dream come true.” But now… Now, what do I do?”
I managed a lucid thought. First, don’t sign the back of the ticket. Whatever you do, don’t sign it. I don’t want to risk losing my anonymity. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s going to be like if the world finds out. I’ll have to leave the country. I’m such a private person that I know I just wouldn’t be able to deal with the publicity it would bring. What with all kinds of advertisers, marketers, scammers, investors and every Tom, Duck and Harry looking for a handout. There’ll be no peace of mind ever again. Whatever you do, don’t sign the back of this ticket.
Frantic, in a near panic now, my thoughts raced,
“Where should I put it though, to keep it safe until I get in touch with the lottery agency? My hands are shaking so badly I just might tear it if I hold it any longer. And sweat! It’s already crumpled so that it resembles a wilted piece of lettuce. I know, I’ll put it here inside this laminated folder. Oh, but it could slide right through the bottom. I’ll put it in the safe. Now where did I put the key to that safe?
I’ll call a lawyer. No, I’ll call Jeff. He’ll come right over and read it. Together we’ll figure out the next move to make. But that might not be the wisest decision. He is still getting back on his feet, planning his future, gaining some stability. Maybe I shouldn’t call him first.
I’ll contact a financial planner first. Google one. Oh fudge! So many choices and not a single one that says “specializes in Powerball Multi Hundreds of Million Dollar Winners” Who can trust a stranger with this magnitude of winnings? It’s just crazy.
I’ll call Cathy. She always knows about what to do with things like five hundred million dollars. Oh my God. Listen to me. I don’t know anyone who knows what to do with that amount of money or anything close to it!
Oh, wait a minute. There’s Peter. He seems be knowledgeable about large amounts of money. But I know he’d come running for a stake in it and then how would I ever be able to tell if he’d have found his way to me without it?
There’s my dearest friend Richard. I know in my heart of hearts that he’s always loved me. In fact, with him, it may be the surest thing. But he’d lecture me all the days of my life about the evils of greed and all things monetary.
I probably could trust Bill with the logistics of it, but his intentions would definitely be questionable.
My sisters and brothers? Not a chance in hell, speaking of slim chances. We haven’t been that kind of family since Mom died over twenty years ago. They’ll find out soon enough.
I’ve got to calm myself down about this winning ticket, this everything everyone wants, this answer to all of my problems, this end all to end all worry and woe.
I think I’ll try some deep breathing. Gaze out at the sea and stretch a bit. Try to take the edge off this overwhelming anxiety before it becomes a full blown panic attack and I end up at the E.R. with an EKG having to tell everyone there that I won the winning ticket. I need to work off some of this adrenaline, this nervous energy, as Mom use to call it.
Wait, it’s a perfect day for a first bike ride of the season. I’ll re-inflate those tires, put on my riding shoes and neon yellow, pedal along Ocean Road to the lighthouse and then to Galilee. Hopefully I’ll see the Block Island ferry as she departs between the jetties. I might spot some daffodils in bloom, forsythia or certainly the pussiewillow. Just the thought of it is calming me already.
The phone calls and texts, the lottery agency, the money and the dream can wait because really, come to think of it, living, working, playing and loving by the sea is everything I’ve ever wanted.
I know exactly what to do first.
Living here is my winning ticket.
For me it is that dream come true.
In response to weekly writing group prompt: “What do you do when your dream comes true and you don’t know what to do?”
WordPressDaily Post Prompt: Frantic