The Lucky Winner

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Chapter 36

MOM

The Day of the Lottery Winning

Mom stared down at her lottery ticket in her hand.

She was at Nancy’s Diner, dressed in her waitress uniform. She stared up at the TV again. The winning numbers from the day before were being announced.

“Excuse me!”

She jumped a few feet up in the air—or so she felt. Her trembling hand tucked the ticket into her pocket in a rush before she looked toward the voice.

“We’re ready to order.”

It was a weird feeling. She was definitely looking at the customer, but her eyes weren’t sending any signals to her brain, like they weren’t seeing anything.

“Are you alright, hon?” another waitress, Maggie, who was also a veteran at Nancy’s Diner asked when she noticed her. Then she said to the customer. “We’ll be right over!”

Mom finally pulled herself back to reality from whatever space she was in. “I… uh… I’m not feeling all that well…”

“No worries, hon. You cover my shift all the time. I’ve got this one. You go home.”

All Mom could do was nod.

It was a miracle she got home safe, considering she didn’t even remember driving the entire way. Perhaps it was similar to driving drunk.

Although she’d been buying lottery tickets every other week for sixteen years, she’d never even considered actually winning the jackpot. It was mostly a little fun that she enjoyed. It let her step out of her ordinary routine a little— like playing community bingo or something. It was also for superstitious reasons. She began playing the lottery starting on the day I was born.

So, for her, actually winning the lottery was a preternatural, inconceivable event, like Santa Clause suddenly showing up on our doorstep and handing her a box full of diamonds. I supposed those feelings are shared by almost anyone, but the difference was: in her modest mind, she’d never harbored the slightest inclination or wish to actually win. Needless to say, that amount of money.

She sat in the kitchen, motionless for an hour or so before I came home. The front door opened and I entered, but she didn’t move and remained like a lifeless statue.

That night after the family discussion, she couldn’t sleep a wink. No matter how stressful or worried she was, she could usually fall asleep eventually. But not on that night. Overwhelmed, frightened, daunted, awed, and terrified… there were all kinds of mixed emotions flooding her mind. She felt as if it were simply beyond her capacity to cope.

She was having an anxiety attack.

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