(right this minute)
He was so sure he would have the chance to repay them all one day. Maybe not in the way they deserved to be repaid. Fully, completely. With the understanding that all his debts were cancelled, and that everyone involved could now go on with their lives. But at least in a way that showed them that, after all they had done for him, they would know at least he tried.
But that never happened.
Like with all things in life, repaying a debt is easy to have get away from a person, unless the person owed the debt can get it from you in writing first. This wasn’t a debt like that. This debt was completely one way… the way of the debtor. This debt was never spoken of by those who held the note. A debt never brought to mind by word or insinuation, and never discussed amongst those to whom the debt was owed. Because this debt could never be repaid. The sole and only one for whom the subject of this debt was an issue, was the man whose entire existence was dominated by it.
He owed them his life, but they were gone. And while that meant that the debt owed was cancelled, the debtor could now never be released from this, his self-imposed obligation. Or, to quote the man who, for better or worse, raised him to be this way,
“You’re fucked, son.”
(twenty-four minutes before that)
He stood in line at his neighborhood Starbucks, 14 minutes and 37 seconds since his last and only quarter dropped through the coin slot, on the meter that stood watch over his car, on the other side of the glass, which separated his morning coffee from his morning parking ticket. The line hadn’t seemed that long when he got out of his car, and began rooting through his pockets for change.
Now he wondered just how much time it could possibly take for just three people to order what must be offices-full of five-dollar coffee drinks, when he only needed beans and water in a cup.
Just as the words, “Next in line” were spoken to him, he took one more peek through the window, and saw the white golf cart with the flashing yellow light on its roof pass behind the curb row of parked cars. The curb row where his own car sat, defenseless, guarded by a now empty meter, that flashed “00:00” in red, for the meter-reading ticket-writer, hopping out of the white golf cart with the gold shield of authority on its doors.
It was the perfect convergence of all irony. A cup of black coffee in the hand of a man out of time, and options. A black ticket book in the hand of a five-foot woman in trooper boots.
And a bright angel out of nowhere, with one shiny quarter in her outstretched hand.
(to be continued)
© Copyright 2015 Bill Friday