It was just a normal Sunday morning. The sun was beginning to gain strength and welcomed me out on my morning walk with hubby and pooch. The air was fresh and spirits were high. My back pocket had the tools of my weekly ritual, last Tuesday and Fridays’ Euromillions lottery tickets and the repeat order form.
The parks were quiet, we were early for a Sunday, we only met Spotty Legs and his dad, but Muttley (our pooch) enjoyed the encounter anyway. The circuit completed and back to the car, down to the high street where Muttley and Dennis (hubby) wait impatiently with visions of breakfast to accompany their rumbling tummies. I go off into the lottery shop for my weekly encounter with the kind man with a lovely smile that each week humours my Spanglish and attempts at humour in a foreign language.
He is one those people you do not have to know well in order to know he is a kind and good man, he sports a beard which in my mind I liken to Joseph’s coat of many colours and imagine that he wears this coat to keep his smile so warm. As always, I greet him and hand over my ticket ceremoniously and this week I say.
“Sorry I am late to collect my winnings from Tuesday.” For on Tuesday the €159,000,000 was won.
I watch the display above the till as I do every week and wonder how it will manage to register all those noughts! My ticket entered, my hope and expectation as always high, but there is something wrong the display is showing words not numbers.
I do not walk the dog wearing my reading glasses so I am confused and look up only to realise the man with the kind smile is on his feet and talking to me excitedly. I cannot focus, I cannot hear but I am catching the number five in his rapid Spanish, I gesture with my hands and beseech him with my eyes saying.
“Slowly, please talk slowly.”
Five numbers, I establish, not the full seven but five. I have five numbers and an undetermined amount of winnings, all I can pick up is “millones”, so I know we are talking millions. The queue behind me has disintegrated into a noisy cheering mass of Spanish exuberance, more people are coming into the shop and everyone is clapping me on the back and kissing my cheeks. I have so many friends suddenly.
I am confused and mute, all coherent dialogue has gone, I have no English, Spanish, Spanglish or even gibberish, which I normally speak fluently!
I sink to the floor, my back against the counter and close my eyes, shutting out the din. I breathe deeply and organise my thoughts.
“OK, so I know what to do. First I contact that lovely man who helped me with my pension and was so kind to me. He will be my financial adviser. I must pay for my son’s house and set up funds for the three grandchildren. Then I must settle the banks claim on my good friend’s apartment before they send the repossession people in and finance her husband to set up a gardening business. Next is our own mortgage and some other important personal issues including setting myself up as a freelance writer full-time. Then my good friend in England, I must pay her mortgage and set her 2 children up on the property ladder, my brother and his wife, not sure what they want or need as they seem to live off love but I must ask. My niece struggling to make a country pub work, she must need some help.”
The man behind me in the queue gently nudges me and I slam back to earth and smile gratefully at the kind man as I take my €5.63 winnings.
“Next week.” I say as I leave.
Yes, I do believe dreams make writers and writers make dreams.