Mornings

I have a jar by the door. Every morning, I rub it, and it fills with cash. I’ve never really counted it, but it’s just enough to last a frivolous day. All of the things I buy with the money are ephemeral, made to last one day. After all, the jar will always be refilled…

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Hit the alarm clock. Silence. Slippers by my bed. Toothpaste and toothbrush on the counter. Breakfast in the fridge. Empty jar by the door. Turn around. Glance at the piggy bank labelled HOME on my desk. Rub the jar. It fills with cash: my never-ending supply, the one thing I can rely on. Eyes glance upwards to loving faces unseen for years. Mom. Dad. Max. Maybe tomorrow. Empty it into my open wallet. Off for coffee.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Tap the alarm clock. Silence. New pair of slippers by my bed. Toothpaste and toothbrush on the counter. Breakfast in the fridge. Spotless jar by the door. Turn around. Piggy bank screams at me. HOME. Eyes shift to faces unseen for years. Mom. Dad. Max. Hesitate. Rub the jar. Finger a twenty. Apologize. I’m selfish today. Grab the different set dangling by the door.

BEEP! BEEP! Wait for the alarm clock to stop. BEEP! BEEP! Silence. Velvet slippers by my bed. Tailored dress in my closet. Toothbrush on the counter. Breakfast in the fridge. Lonely jar by the door. Turn around. Empty piggy bank labelled HOME on my desk. Burdening eyes drift to faces unseen for years. Mom. Dad. Max. Rub the jar. Hesitate. Sigh. Dig through the jar for a five. Place it into the piggy bank. Fill my empty wallet. Call for the chauffeur.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Unplug my alarm clock. Silence. Slippers waiting at my bedside. Toothpaste and toothbrush on the counter. Breakfast in the fridge. Familiar jar by the door. Turn around. The lone bill in HOME on my desk screams at me. Eyes stare at faces thousands of miles away. Mom. Dad. Max. Rub the jar. Pull out a fifty. It joins the five. Fill my empty wallet. I’ll walk today.

Silence. I forgot my alarm clock was unplugged. Slippers outside my bedroom door. New toothbrush on the counter. Breakfast on the table. Empty jar by the door. Rub it. Quarter of the cash joins the two bills on my desk. Replenish my hungry wallet. Smile at the proud faces. Mom. Dad. Max. I promise I’ll see you soon. Perhaps I can find a job.

Silence. Alarm clock is still unplugged. Feet touch carpet. No slippers today. Rinse my face. Pick up the banana. Turn to the door. Empty jar by the door. Starving wallet in my pocket. Rub the jar. Rub harder. Vacant jar falls to the floor. Head in my hands. Lips counting the stack on my desk. Plane ticket prices blur. Subtraction over and over again. Hundreds of dollars short. Trembling hands reach towards faces on my wall. Mom. Dad. Max. They come down. Their noses press against the mantle. Maybe tomorrow. Back to bed.

Silence. Alarm clock is broken. Bare feet dash across carpet. Past the bathroom. Past the kitchen. Empty jar. Rub it. Slump to the floor. Hands caress still faces encased in glass. Tears rolling down my cheeks become tears of the family I’ll never see again.

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