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Take One

January 22, 9:23 PM

Infuriated at what he feels to be his lover’s ineptitude and lackadaisical nature, he decides not to read aloud to her and instead sinks into dreamless sleep.

A single snow flake alights the window and slides, leaving trails of its tears, along the glass.

Here, bells of alarm clocks sound.

The next morning she decides to skip her psychiatric appointment to write. She stares at the screen. Narrative is blocked for hours. She puts away her dreams of becoming a writer. She lies down and sinks into dreamless sleep.

“Where is he? If we don’t get this shot now, we are done for the day, and I can’t afford to re-shoot.”

He waits another ten minutes, sighs, and tells everyone to go home.

“Damn, Billy,” he mutters and goes home to get wasted and to forget how close he came to making something meaningful.

A Market Street Market cashier loses his job as he yells at a frequent customer for loudly complaining about not being able to redeem an expired coupon. As he walks home, he knows it was never about the coupon.

Downtown, two older men and one middle aged woman walk to the stop as the free trolley approaches. They yell for the trolley to wait. No one hears them. Angry, they begin to curse. Another man approaching with a young child asks them to calm down and stop cursing. Arguing ensues. A fight breaks. The child is pushed into the street too quickly for the car to brake.

A single snow flake caresses the tragic baby’s brow as she lies on the asphalt.

Here, bells of sirens sound.

Take Two

January 22, 9:23 PM

Although he ruminates about the apparent poor state of his affair, he knows she loves to hear him share stories with her each night. He reads to her about the importance of participation and fulfilling obligations. She knows this is hard for him and hides a grateful smile as not to embarrass him. After an hour of reading, he and she sink into dreamless sleep.

The next morning she guiltily decides to skip her psychiatric appointment. She wants to write. Her computer freezes. She reconsiders and goes.

As she sits at the bus stop by the ice park, she sees two of her friends and a woman from the shelter bundled up and hustling quickly to the stop. She sees the trolley approaching and motions it to stop. As the woman gets on the bus, the two smile at each other.

Surprised to be moved, the older woman cries quietly for the first time in seven years. This time she knows she has left her hard man for good. She slouches on the wooden trolley seat marvelling at her new found bravery and resolution.

“Billy, are you coming in or going out?” she asked.

“I am actually trying to leave but I can’t carry everything to–”

She has already picked up two of his bags and accompanies him to his car.

Billy packs everything for the shoot in the backseat, hugs her, and drives away blending seamlessly into the light traffic.

Billy gets the epic shot in the last of the light before the winter storm.

Lunch rings up $4.59. Still pleased at seeing her favorite photographer, she pays with a five and places all of the change in the give a penny, take a penny jar.

The cashier stops stroking the penny in his jean pocket and begins to look slightly ill. She doesn’t notice, thanks him, and goes on to her next errand.

“What does it mean? I make a deal with God I would reconnect with my Dad if I had exact change for a single stamp two seconds ago– knowing all I had was a penny. And, this lady drops in exactly forty one cents?”

Nodding his head slowly. he takes out a tablet from under the register, uncaps his pen, and begins to write.

Brushing the snow from her hair, she arrives home, restarts her computer, and begins to write.

All is right.

God takes a deep breath from her diaphragm, blows a kiss to them all, and Cheshire cat grins.

Here, bells of laughter sound.