Seventy-Five This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   He came to the counter, looking both as plain and unique as anyone who entered the store. Dressed for a Sunday afternoon. Lazy. Jeans and a burgundy jersey. His shoes were worn thin at the heels, broken in with a few years' age. His hair was common. Brown and brushed to one side. Exposing his jubilant eyes. He was average, but seemed to me possibly happier than the rest. From his voice a strong inner peace radiated. He was confident.

A regular order. One medium, regular coffee. The total, your basic one dollar and fifty cents. The man set his coins down on the counter top. He spoke of his daughter as he ran the tip of his index finger across the top of each nickel, dime, quarter. She was to be wed in two days. He was proud. Counting the silver pieces. Twenty-five, fifty, sixty, seventy, seventy-five, then stopping. He looked from the coins to the counter and then at me. A puzzled, frustrated expression on his face. It was an expression I had not expected from such a man. I realized then what he needed. I helped him count out the additional seventy-five cents.

The man was thankful. I had helped him and not humiliated him. I wondered how many people cheated this man of his money. An average looking, average speaking, fifty-year-old man who could not count his change. A gap was opened between today and yesterday. Only to be closed by two people willing to share understanding on levels different from their own. He on my level, and I on his.

He turned and started for the door.

Smiling, appreciating. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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