I wanna blame my absent mindedness on my sore throat, or even the fact that I was awake earlier than normal. I have been rattling my brain the entire day on how I allowed twenty dollars on the ground to go by without even a break in stride. Nonetheless, I feel dumb.
I get off the uptown C train on 110th at about 9:45 AM, around the time I’m normally in bed due to my awkward work schedule. Like a premonition, my mind guides me through the turnstiles near 109th, rather than the excursion back up the downtown platform as I normally do in order to come out the subway on my block.
As I burst through the turnstile bars like a true train passenger, I strafe through what appears to be a group of kids along with their summer school camp counselor. In the midst of the kiddy commotion, I briefly look down, and to no surprise whatsoever, I see Andrew Jackson’s face, clear as day, on a horizontally folded twenty dollar bill. It sat on the concrete subway floor, lonely, and as unclaimed as could possibly be.
Like some instinctual, yet benign motivation, my right foot attempted to slide it forward in mid stride, as if my foot were hoping my brain would connect the futuristic momental dots to lean forward then pick it up and put it in my pocket. The reality is my foot didn’t connect to touch the bill, but slightly waved the bill’s upper fold to sway with the air’s movement my foot’s stride made above it.
Almost like a failed left hook, which causes a following right to not even be attempted, the lack of connectivity with my foot and the bill caused my motion to remain steady, and not to break stride out of the subway for the precious free twenty dollar bill on the ground.
Similar to a child left by unwilling parents, I turned to see if there was any hope of a retry at the loose money, only to see what I did not see in the beginning of the event. The Spanish kid leaning on the turnstile left of the one I went through, almost like he followed my every movement, dashes down toward the twenty dollar bill.
Before I see my failure of opportunity conquered, I turn back toward my destination to seem as if I was not as much as minimally effected by the loss. The gesture I presented to the Spanish kid may have seemed as if twenty dollars would never be enough money for me to even consider breaking a back muscle to bend down for, like I’m rich beyond any minor back toil. The idea is the farthest from the truth.
The reality is I felt a tremendous loss, and I wanted to go back in time and do everything completely over again. I couldn’t believe the amount of neglect I allowed myself to exhibit, not to mention what the extra twenty dollars would have done for my day. It might have been one of the most life changing moments of this year for me. The thoughtless gesture, etched onto my brain, now a reminder to myself never to allow not even a penny to be forgotten as value.
I keep telling myself I’ll get over it, and this is true. Although, the fact will remain, that on this day I discovered my tendency to involuntarily neglect the precious objects of time and energy.
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