When Jas, short for Jasmine, woke up that morning, she felt the sudden urge to burst into tears. She promptly indulged the desire by sobbing into her pillow. Her prospects looked bleak – she was out of a job, she had very little money left, she had a pile of unopened bills, her landlord would pounce on her the moment she stepped out of her apartment, and to top it all she had no family, no parents, no siblings, nobody. She cried bitterly – anger and self-pity snaking up and down like a sinusoidal wave.
Jas finally mustered the courage to get out of bed – to face another day of uncertainty, more job applications and many telephone calls. She dragged out a huge sigh from within, and with slumped shoulders walked to the bathroom to get started with her day.
She had three interviews lined up that month, one was in fact scheduled for the very next day. As she peered at her face in the bathroom mirror, she realized that her eyebrows needed some threading and trimming. She had to look at least reasonably presentable at the interview tomorrow. She would have to part with her precious money, but it had to be done. She set off to the salon at a brisk pace.
As she walked through the crowded market, the man at the lottery ticket shop was shouting to all passers-by that it was the last date to buy tickets for the state’s Summer Bumper lottery. The jackpot was four million.
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Jas laughed, walked past and stopped. On a whim, she walked back and bought a Summer Bumper Lottery ticket. She was suddenly filled with hope and a strange feeling of elation. She smiled to herself, as she stuffed the lottery ticket into her bag and walked towards the salon.
She sat down and told the beautician what she wanted done, totally oblivious to the other ladies around her, all of whom were in various stages of beautification!
The lady in the seat next to Jas was Mrs.Briganza, one of the richest women in the city. She watched Jas and thought to herself how beautiful the young lady was – tall and slender, with a good complexion and beautiful hair.
Jas made brief eye contact with Mrs.Briganza, and then looked straight ahead, though she could still feel Mrs.Briganza’s eyes on her.
The beautician quickly threaded Jas’s eyebrows, and as Jas stood up to take her wallet out of her bag, her bag fell from her hands, and all its contents spilled out on the floor. Jas quickly stuffed everything back into her bag, made her payment and left the salon.
Just after Jas left, Mrs.Briganza found Jas’s lottery ticket under her chair. She told the beautician to run quickly and give it to the young woman who had just left, and to whom it most probably belonged.
The girl rushed out only to see that Jas had already crossed the street. She waved and signalled to a woman on the other side of the road to call Jas. When Jas turned around, she saw the beautician waving a small paper at her. She thought that the girl was asking her to come back and take the receipt for her threading. She waved her hand and signalled that she did not want it.
The girl looked puzzled and went back inside. She handed the lottery ticket to Mrs.Briganza.
When Mrs.Briganza went to her office, she called her assistant and gave her the ticket, and asked her to check the results when they were published.
The lottery ticket and the incident at the salon were soon forgotten by both Jas and Mrs.Briganza.
On Wednesday the next week, Jas sat in line to be called for an interview at the offices of Point to Point Logistics. She clasped and unclasped her hands, waiting for the ordeal to be over.
It was finally her turn. She walked in and saw a lady seated at a huge desk. Jas felt that she looked vaguely familiar.
When the lady looked up at Jas, she seemed startled, and said, “Hello Ms.Jasmine Ray, I am Mrs.Briganza, have a seat”.
Mrs.Briganza remembered the young lady so well, and she remembered the lottery ticket also. The interview went smoothly, and just as Jas got up to leave, Mrs.Briganza said, “Do you remember dropping….”
And the telephone rang. MrsBriganza signalled for Jas to wait as she answered the call.
It was her secretary, who said, “Mrs.Briganza, do you remember the lottery ticket you had asked me to check? Guess what? You just hit the jackpot of four million.”
Mrs.Briganza said, “Thank you, my dear”, and slowly put the phone down.
In a calm voice she said to Jas, “Sorry to keep you waiting Ms.Ray. You will hear from us shortly if we choose to hire you.”
Jas walked out of the cool airconditioned office into the hot summer day, and joined the sea of people going about their lives.