Nine Cents Worth

The afternoon sky was dark, and poured rain onto the city. Men in ridged suits and women in sharp dresses zipped to overhangs and awnings. Briefcases and newspapers were their only fleeting reprieve.

A man paid his taxi driver and prepared for the dash across the street. He eyed the gauntlet he was to take: puddles ebbed into lakes, gutter-runoff streamed into rivers and roaring cars splashed waves.

He burst into a lobby. Hair now unkempt, jacket now drenched, and socks now sopping; he exhaled and peered at the window and into his blurred reflection.

In that moment he was caught. He was no longer standing inside an illuminated hall, but was miles away. He seemed paralyzed, except for his thumb which fingered his wedding band.

“Penny for your thoughts?” asked a security guard who sat behind a nearby desk.

The wet man was pulled back. He smiled at the guard and pulled a dime from his pocket and placed it on the countertop. “Some thoughts are treats you keep for yourself. Please, keep the change.”