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Sweaty Blessings (Deliveries 7/22)

I clocked myself in to the dispatch computer. The restaurant was hopping. Customer service gals milled about. The Warrior churned out pizzas. Micho was being all manager-ish.

I turned from the computer toward my lockbox. I had a significant amount of money and receipts to drop in from my pocketI slid the receipts in first. The simple thermal paper folds like a razor. No problem.

Next, a couple bills. They went in fine. The final wad of cash crumpled as I tried to insert it. It was mushy. Damp. Like a half-dried paper towel after you’ve wiped off the counter.

“Why is this so wet?” I asked myself. I remembered immediately. It was gross.

Cue the memory swirl!

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It was earlier that evening. I got out of my dented car with a warm bag of pizzas. I was on time. The house was unmarked. It had a chain-link fence, long grass and a broken screen door through which I could see the entryway.

A woman appeared at the screen door just as I lifted the latch to their gate. Her eyes went wide as she saw me. She turned her face back into the house as she opened the door.

“Oh, just in time!” she yelled.

“Well, I try to be,” I said, walking up.

“We told our kids they wouldn’t get any pizza if they weren’t out of the tub by the time you got here. They just barely got out,” she explained.

A large black dog passed the woman’s bare legs and headed out toward me. She talked at it, asking if it needed to go out. The dog wagged its tail twice and kept walking. I felt nervous. The dog sauntered past with a single sniff at the bag.

I pulled out the receipt. “Looks like the total is-” I said, giving her the total. It was a cash receipt.

“Right,” she said. She turned again and called for someone.

A guy came to the door. He had on a dirty FedEx uniform. Unkempt black hair laid plastered against his forehead. The smell about him communicated the end of a hard day’s work moving parcels.  

“Ok, here-“ he said, handing over two wadded up bills. Then he held out his other hand. I pocketed the bills fast and held out my hand again. “And a handful of change for a tip. Sorry about that, man.”

The change clanged into my palm. I thanked him and pocketed it. I wished them a delicious meal and left.

And then there I was, standing in front of my cash box. Remembering Mr. Sweaty FedEx man. The humidity rose from the bills like a yellow vapor.

I stopped trying to be careful with them. I mashed and squished with an I-don’t-want-to-touch-this-anymore level of urgency.

I told the tale to the ladies up front. A chorus of disgust rose as we laughed about it.

Another delivery took me to SkyView apartments on 22nd and Saint Mary’s. These apartments were scary while I was in High School. They look sharp now.

Per the instructions on the receipt, I called the customer. She said she would be coming down.

A young man met me five minutes later. He had bright red sneakers on, denim and what looked like an afro tied up in a bun, but with the tips fraying out above his head. He was very polite. I handed over the meal. He asked me to wait. He pulled some money out of his wallet.

“A little somethin’ for ya,” he said. I told him I appreciated it, and to have a nice day.

“Stay blessed,” he said. I left.

His valediction stuck with me. Stay blessed. It wasn’t an invitation. It wasn’t empty. His inflection caused more thought than normal.

It caused me to think, “I am blessed, aren’t I?”

In a real way, I’m flooded with blessings. I counted some as I left the SkyView tower:

· Amazewife.

· Babies.

· The Church.

· A knowledge of the Savior that has carried me through day to day.

· Skyrim.

· Minecraft.

· Powershell.

I kept counting for the rest of the night. Music. Babies again. Certain experiences. Great coworkers. The challenges of life in general. I counted heavily the journey that we’re on and how close we’re getting. Meredith’s student loan is one payment away from death. Mine is next on the block. We could see the finish line.

My night was over. The day was done. I had closed for an ill coworker, so I finished my duties and counted my final blessings of the shift.

There were 97 in all – roughly three times more than a normal Wednesday - and 20 of them were still sweaty.

-ROE INTENSE

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