a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

A Special Delivery

< by Jill >

I laced up my running shoes and slung on my backpack. I had a route in mind and three errands to run:

1. Pick up laminated poster from Lakeshore Learning (the teacher store).

2. Mail package at the post office.

3. Drop off rent at landlord’s place.

It was mid-March 2009 and money was tight. I ran almost everywhere to save on gas, squeezing errands into my fitness routine and fitness into my errand routine. It was my first year out of college, and as a second-grade teacher on Chicago’s south side, I made next to nothing. To compound the matter, I had enrolled in grad school and the tuition bills were stacking up.

So I jogged west, counting off the streets … Wood, Walden, Longwood … and pondering my finances … I wonder if mayonnaise would work as hair conditioner. I made it up to Western, hung a right, and made my first stop at Lakeshore Learning. With a rolled-up poster jutting out of my backpack, I then turned east down 95th street. Again, I counted off the streets … Seeley, Damen, Winchester … when I noticed a $20 bill tumbling across the sidewalk. I darted forward and snagged it. A few cars rumbled by but otherwise, I was alone on the street.

I started to search the ground, thinking maybe I’d find some more money. After wandering a little off the sidewalk, I came to a fence that bordered a vacant lot. Crammed into the fence’s bottom link, I spotted a wad of cash — all $20 bills — fluttering in the breeze. I worked it out of the webbing and counted the money — 20, 40, 60, 80, 100 … 

I peeled back bill after bill, until finally — 220.

I crammed the money into my tights and ran straight home. That month, I was able to pay off every bill and splurge on a bottle of conditioner.

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