It's just poetry, it won't bite

Just Missed

01.06.20 Posted in today's words by

Paul Juhasz lives and writes in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where he soon will graduate from the Red Earth Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing program at Oklahoma City University.

Just Missed
By Paul Juhasz

I kneel down on the chessboard-patterned floor of the mall food court, noticing my shoe is untethered. It will take me somewhere between 2-5 seconds to retie the laces.

Two seconds means I miss colliding into that man wearing a light-blue windbreaker despite the searing August heat. He’s a serial killer, concealing an axe-blade, fresh from the whetstone, in his pocket. An axe blade he will now bury into the skull of someone other than me.

Three seconds ensures I do not strike up a conversation with William, an entrepreneur looking for a partner, waiting in line at Panda Express two people (now) in front of me. When his start-up goes public, he will be on the cover of Forbes. I will still be putting bottles of vitamins into padded envelopes.

At four seconds, I miss the drunk driver running a red light on my drive home. Instead, he will crash into a Honda Odyssey, killing a young mother and one of her daughters. The surviving daughter will resent it when her father re-marries. Her step-mother, however, will encourage the daughter’s talent for painting, will beam proudly at her first exhibit at the Robert Klein Gallery.

Five seconds costs me a meeting with Heather, who would have been sitting at my usual table at the Starbucks three blocks from my apartment, where I will drink my white chocolate mocha alone, not aware that Heather was the woman I was really supposed to marry.

The shoe once again tethered, I go order my General Tso’s with fried rice, then walk to Bed, Bath and Beyond, where I will buy a mirror for the bathroom, living this life instead of myriad others, a boundless parcel of lives just missed.

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