The prompts were a strangers thankyou and I’m the only one who can’t. I underlined them.
A Strangers Thank You
The busy shouts of rush-hour echo in my ears. They all need to go somewhere. The man with the red shirt needs to go to the football stadium. The short old lady needs to go to target. I need to make it to the train station so that I can report the weather for channel 7 news.
It’s a good job. I love reporting weather. I do it all the time. My shoes click on the stairs in time with the rain drops leaking from the sky. A heavy rainstorm is on approach and will hit southern Springfield first, before heading west towards Jacksonville.
Hmm, I should buy an umbrella, I’m headed to Jacksonville.
I reach into my pocket and pull out my days history. A receipt, half chewed gum placed back into it’s wrapper, a ticket that says Troy Jameson, train number 623 and $10.26. Perfect, I think walking into the store. I can get a red umbrella. Like that one. I love the color red because it reminds me of the sun setting the evening air in fire, as it dips beneath the mountains.
“That ‘ll be $9.99” the cashiers southern accent reminds me of the new intern., Bethany. She tried to get MY weather segment. Stupid hick. Nobody gets MY weather segment.
As I step outside, I see a stranger walk in the same direction as me. His face is long and he has a blonde beard. I can’t see his hair, which is underneath a business hat. It perfectly matches his large trench coat. As he walks past me, I hear him say thank-you.
“for what?” I raise my eyebrows.
“for this!” he teases me, flaunting my ticket in front of my face.
“hey! Thief!” I yell, hoping someone will stop him, but, unfortunately, no one does.
-Sigh- It’s okay. I wanted to walk home anyway.
∞ ∞ ∞
“Hey chuck,” I sigh into the cell phone standing out-side of my house. “sorry I missed work today.”
“Who is this?” Chuck asked over the phone.
“It’s Troy. Didn’t you recognize my number?”
“Troy?! Thank God your okay!”
“Chuck, what do you mean?”
“Listen, don’t worry about your weather segment.”
I bury my head into my hands and sigh. “Please tell me you didn’t give it to Bethany?”
“You still don’t know, do you?”
“Know what?! What are you making such a deal of!”
“Go inside and watch channel seven. You’ll see then.”
“Okay. Fine. Talk to you later.”
I step in to my house and feel the familiar cold of a house that hasn’t been occupied for a day. What could be so important? It probably doesn’t even affect me. I grab the remote and hit power, than 7. I did not expect the sight that greeted me.
A beautiful reporter with long blonde hair and a white jacket was standing in an open field. In the background was a train lying on it’s side. The reporter was saying, “I’m at the site of a tragic train wreck. The cause remains unknown. Luckily it was a small train and wasn’t very full. 17 have sustained serious injury and are currently in the hospital in critical condition. 49 have escaped with only minor injuries and remain in the hospital for observation. A handful of lucky people, 7, remain unscathed. Shockingly only one death has been reported. This man had no identification on him and no one is sure of his name yet. If you have information regarding the identity of this man,” She said, as the screen zoomed out to show a mans face, “please call us at….” here the phone number for the news station flashes onscreen.
Who could that be? I wonder. To the left of the reporter is a very recognizable face. I see a man with a long face and a blonde beard. His hair is hidden underneath a large business hat. All that i can see of his body, is a blood-stained trench coat.
How can the world just keep on going? I wonder. this man just died, because he got on the train I was supposed to be on. I should be dead, but im not. And no one know or cares. life goes on.
∞ ∞ ∞
“This is Bethany Hodges, bringing the weather to you.” I turn the T.V. off. Years later, I’m the only one who can’t get over his death.
‘It doesn’t make that much difference’ They say. ‘You never even knew him’ ‘Let life go on, move on’ But what they don’t realize is that I already did. It does make that much difference, it changed my life. I never would have let Bethany even help me with the weather segment, but now I just gave it to her. I never even knew him, but he was still a person with a family and a life. Just like people would say of me if he hadn’t stolen my ticket. And i am letting life go on, I am moving on. In fact my life is moving on even better than before.
I can now enjoy each day like it was my first, and live each day like it was my last, because a strangers thank-you has changed my life for the better.
* * * * *
Hope you like.