The Winner

Peter opened the door onto the patio. Fresh spring air welcomed him to a warm afternoon. He watched the synchronized flight of a pair of lorikeets and breathed in with a smile of satisfaction. Phone in hand he sat on the old paint-chipped rocking chair and embarked on his daily catch up with the news. Before he immersed himself in today’s offering, he was interrupted. He carefully placed his phone on the side table and walked confidently to the front door.

A neighbour stood in the porch, greeted Peter then posed a request. 

“Sorry to bother you Peter, any chance you could bring our bins in this week, as we’re staying overnight in the city,” asked Craig.

“Too easy,” replied Peter, “hey why don’t you come in and have a coffee, I’ve got some good news to share.”

“Sure,” Craig eagerly said, stepping into the house, “Good news is rare these days. Don’t tell me, you’ve met the woman of your dreams and you’re moving to Timbuktu to marry her.”

“No,” laughed Peter he stood upright, grinning with sparkling eyes of a bearer of great joy. The coffee machine chugged into action and Peter retrieved two mugs from the drawer beneath. He seemed in no hurry to divulge information and it wasn’t until they were both sat on the balcony coffee in hands, Peter sighed and began.

“I won the lottery last night,” he stated, gazing at the sky, then at Craig, with a smile of a winner.

Craig was momentarily speechless as a cascade of thoughts flooded his mind.

“Which lottery? Not yesterday’s?” he finally asked.

Peter nodded as his chair gently rocked, as if all was well with the world. Craig shifted and put his coffee down to shake Peter’s hand.

“Congratulations! Man, whoa, I don’t know… what will you do first, a cruise, a new car, a big fat ribeye steak?” asked Craig eagerly.

“Mmmm steak sounds good,” mumbled Peter, as if to himself. Craig leant forward hardly able to take in the news. His mind fired off in all directions, so many questions, thoughts and fireworks of emotion. He couldn’t quite grasp Peter’s calm contained presentation. Finally, he managed to settle on one question.

“When do you, er, actually get the money?” asked Craig sheepishly.

“Money?” replied Peter gazing into the distance.

“You’re kidding me. The lottery win!”

Peter smiled and shook his head. Craig stared in disbelief as Peter explained the situation. For a couple of years, he’d only guessed the numbers for himself, he never actually bought a ticket. It brought him joy to play this game, especially when he got some of the numbers right. This time he’d hit the jackpot on his notebook but would be none the richer apart from his own satisfaction. Peter told his friend money was not the motive for this little game, it was just for fun. He went further.

“I’ve heard it said that the love of money is the root of all kinds of trouble, I don’t want any trouble. I’m content with my life as is.” Peter took his coffee mug and held it out to clink mugs with Craig.

“Cheers!” declared Peter. Craig mumbled in unison, perturbed yet somewhat intrigued. For half an hour the two men sat, sometimes in silence, more often in an exchange of words and wisdom. Finally, Craig got up to leave and Peter followed.

“You see Craig, I feel like a winner and that’s the joy of it. Anyway, if I had won a fortune, I might be off on that cruise you mentioned, and who’d bring your bins in then?” he laughed.

“True,” agreed Craig and shook hands as he left to go home, still trying to come to terms with the ‘winning/not winning’ scenario.

Peter returned to his phone and set a reminder for Craig and Susan’s bins. He watched the bees hover around spring blooms. Even without a newly bulging bank account, Peter had learned contentment with his lot, and this made him a real winner.

Helen Buckle  – Creative Writer –  Learning to be a Winner like Peter!