Coincidental Meditation

There it was, on the third shelf in the basement. One of those artifacts that just seem to aggregate of their own will. The white insulated vinyl shopping tote was a leftover from a 1981 trip my wife made, before she became my wife. She had picked it up to carry her purchases from the refrigerator case back to the rooming house where she was staying. The Tesco logo was plainly visible even in the dim light from the single basement window high on the wall above. I wouldn’t have even noticed it if Stephen Black hadn’t issued that silly flash fiction challenge on his blog and included cellphone photos of the receipt he had picked up at the counter on one of his own shopping expeditions. They were left behind, Stephen said, by those too impatient to wait for the printer on the register to spew out the record of their transaction. What possessed him to pick them up? I can’t say. Did some force of the mysterious universe cause him to take the time to write about them on his Fractured Faith blog? Obviously.

Once I had picked the bag off of the shelf and slid its galvanized zipper open and  peered inside, my eyes straining to pierce the gloom, I knew I would have to strike the word “obviously” forevermore from my vocabulary. (After this one last time.) It was there in the bottom. Just one slip of faded paper.

My mind couldn’t take in the contents of that fragment. The universe had become too weird to comprehend. Yet there it was, identical in every twisted  way, to the one that Stephen had posted, except the year on the date and the parchment-yellowed paper marking its travel through time.

I don’t know what to make of it. It is too strange for coincidence. Somehow, Stephen had to be behind it all. But how? Did he collaborate with her ages ago? For what purpose?  To mess with my mind? Mission accomplished, if that was their aim.  Was there some sinister portent behind waiting until the digits of the year were reversed? Clearly my wife had waited for her receipt, in the Tesco that day.  I decided I wouldn’t risk asking her about it as I went up the basement stairs, whistling in the dark, at least on the inside.


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Awestruck son of the Sovereign of the universe, from whom all rights and responsibilities of men derive.

4 thoughts on “Coincidental Meditation”

  1. That was good! I was very intrigued! I had to click on the link to the other blogger and see what he had there…once I read his “fiction challenge” it “clicked” in my head! So creative! I loved it!

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