73: A Dime Worth of Hope

73: A Dime Worth of Hope

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms

A Dime Worth of Hope

So where did these cravings come from?
I concluded it’s the baby ordering in. Prenatal takeout.

~Paul Reiser, Babyhood

I was eight months pregnant and very round. My office was located right across from a fast-food place with golden arches that I longed for that early morning. I was craving a fish sandwich and a glass of milk. I counted the hours until lunchtime. I worked absentmindedly as I felt my baby move around and kick me, almost yelling out, “I want fish! I want milk! Now!” My swollen feet rested on a stool I had placed under my desk. They would carry me over there, and my hunger would be sated.

Slowly, time clicked away until the minute I was free to cure my craving.

As I stood in the long line, I relished the thought of that crunchy yet soft fish meal, with cool, refreshing milk washing it all down. My baby made a flip inside my big belly. All was about to be well.

Or so I thought.

As I placed my order, the young boy behind the counter announced I owed him four dollars and thirty-five cents.

A small price to pay for paradise in one’s mouth.

Problem was, I only had four dollars and twenty-five cents—a dime short.

Could he let me have the food, and I would pay him later when I walked back to my office and borrowed a dime from a co-worker?

No. No way, he said. He needed it all right then.

Credit cards were not accepted either; cash only.

Listen, I urged, begging with a plea only an eight-months-pregnant woman understands, I HAVE TO HAVE THAT FOOD! Here, take my watch, rub my belly, anything for a dime. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?? My feet are bigger than your teenaged head. AND I WANT THAT FOOD!

I debated whether or not I could lunge over the counter and grab that bag of delight he was withholding from me. Could I?

Would I give birth to my firstborn behind bars?

Would I hear “jailbird” as I pushed out my daughter?

The people behind me began to grumble. They, too, had cravings. And I was preventing them from fulfilling theirs.

All I needed was a dime. Ten cents. A mere 1/10th of a dollar. I threw my purse open on the counter, hoping a dime would appear.

It did not.

I began to cry. I was so hungry and so tired. And so broke.

A man behind me tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a dime. I hugged him. I told him I would name my child after him, only to see his shirt had the name “Herman” on it, and I questioned my sanity.

A dime. Thank you, sir, thank you. You have saved my life.

Others in line clapped. The young boy who was now fearing for his life thanked Herman, too.

I had paradise in my hand, and I ate it quickly as I walked back to my office.

As I sat at my desk, my baby kicked softly, as if to say she appreciated Herman, too.

And slowly, one by one, my officemates came and each put a dime in my hand, laughing and telling me my daughter would be a fisherman.

You never know where hope might come from, even a dime’s worth in time of great expectancy.

~Malinda Dunlap Fillingim

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