The Shine Journal

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Vita Digitalis


Steve Jennings


Mindy was having trouble contemplating how incredibly vibrant the colors were. She had never seen anything like it before, and was in awe over how just looking at something so beautiful could instill such feelings of overwhelming joy. She took a moment to take it all in. She breathed slowly and deeply to make certain she did not miss a single atom of the delightful fragrance. She had seen fairly extravagant flower displays hundreds of times at her job at the arboretum, but these were vastly different, these flowers… meant something. She thought to herself that if only she could freeze time at this precise moment, and spend eternity frozen there in the back yard with her mother, that it would be utterly divine, and she would gladly trade all the money and every single future day of her life to stay right there forever.
Mindy began to think again about how she felt. It was unreal. Just a few months ago, things were quite different. She had lost her husband J.D., and her eleven year old daughter Alice. She had fallen into a horrid, seemingly inescapable depression. At the end of her rope, she had gone to the store and bought two things: a container of foxglove seeds, and a lottery ticket. She had done ample research on the internet to know what the seeds were capable of; she had no interest in personal horticulture. By the day’s end, she would know her fate. 
She took a long warm bath, put on some comfortable sweat pants and her favorite t-shirt, ironically a big yellow smiley face on navy blue, and sat down on the couch in front of her meager twenty one inch color television. J.D. always wanted to invest in a much larger television, but saving enough money to buy one seemed a daunting task, and now an irrelevant afterthought. The annoyingly bright light from the flashing blue neon sign across the street, was once again finding its way through her pitifully thin curtains, and still the white whooshing background noise of the merciless street traffic was becoming deafening. She flipped the channel over to the local news, and waited for the lottery numbers to be announced. 10:00 PM. 14:23:27:38:44… Mindy’s eyebrow rose. The increase in her pulse rate made her feel faint… 54.

Winner. This was the turning point, the one and only last chance for Mindy to make anything out what she considered to be her pointless life. She wept. She set the foxglove seeds on the coffee table, laid down on the couch, and stared at them and cried until she fell asleep.

The next morning she felt different. She knew that winning the lottery was a once in a lifetime event, but she was conflicted because losing your family was also a once in a lifetime tragedy. Having what seems to be an endless supply of money would make most people happy, yet Mindy knew that she would feel incredible guilt for enjoying a single penny of it. She paid a visit to her mother, who was always her center, the one person who could truly reach her. She gave her mother the tin of foxglove seeds, and explained what she had done the night before. Her mother thought it best that Mindy enter a facility designed to deal with extreme depression and suicide. In the meantime, her mother would place winning lottery ticket into a safety deposit box.

For ten weeks, Mindy spent every day struggling with her demons. She found solace in investing her feelings in her counselor, and in the multitude of fellow sufferers, many of whom shared the experience of losing their family. She told no one about her wining lottery ticket.

Once she arrived at a place mentally where she did not spend most of the day thinking of suicide, and realizing that she could use her good fortune to help other people make it through their troubled times, she decided to leave the facility. She instructed her mother to collect the winning ticket on the way to pick her up. She embraced her mother, which somehow felt different now. Finally, rather than feeling as if she was being consoled, she felt true joy. She then took the ticket, held it tightly in her hand, closed her eyes, and for the first time ever, envisioned a lucid, gratifying future.

She could not believe her eyes when she saw the foxgloves on the back patio. The flowers had bloomed into a vision beyond anything she could have ever imagined. She breathed as slow as she possibly could to make certain that she would remember exactly the way the flowers smelled on the happiest day of her entire life.

With a convulsive shudder, she suddenly focused on the lottery ticket lying on coffee table. She was then able to refocus one last time on the clock across the room. It was 9:00 PM. One more hour, she thought, and as she drew in her final breath, her mind, running wild from the poisonous seeds, constructed a vision of her mother, who had passed away just two years earlier, giving her a loving wink, and a welcoming nod.

Steve Jennings is a fledgling writer  and free thinker from North Texas. He specializes in flash fiction and short stories.

Motivation: Vita Digitalis occurred as a daydream. One of those moments in time where you sort of snap back to the the present, and realize the world is marching on without you.

Click the pics to meet the members!


Editor: Pamela Tyree Griffin

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