Your Story 14 Winner: Vincent D

My best friend, George, gets emails from God. I call them blessings. George calls them SPAM. They have pretty pictures of doves, angels, sparkling lakes. The really special ones have Jesus’ face camouflaged in a mountain range or cloud formation and you have to look at them sideways. They don’t say God. They say, FWD, FWD, FWD which is computer for: From Wisdom Divine. I told George there is really no way to misinterpret that. He said, “Hmph.”

They are sent to guide him. They tell him to be kind to strangers, to fly the American flag and remember his mother. They tell him not to worry when things go wrong—like getting fired or dumped—because God has it all under control and everything bad will turn good if he just gives it enough time and pays closer attention to his personal hygiene.

Sometimes they help him put things in perspective. Like the one that showed the earth next to the sun next to the universe and, next to all that, George and his problems were virtually invisible. They tell him that if he sends these divine messages on to at least ten friends in thirty seconds he will be blessed with a year of bliss and if he does not he will suffer. George always pushes the delete button. Then worries.

Except last week. George got an email that told him many secrets. It told him that he was special, that someone was waiting to hear from him, that someone was going to do something nice for him. It told him that someone he didn’t even know loved him. He forwarded it to me.

“Look, Lydia,” he wrote at the top, “I have a secret admirer. Now you have one, too.”

I liked the idea. A secret admirer. I wondered who it was.

Then, a few days later, George got a package in the mail. There was no return address and he thought it was from terrorists and he should throw it in the river. I told him it was from God and he had to open it. He said, “I think I’ll call the bomb squad and let them open it. Then we’ll know for sure and no one will get hurt.” I told him he was going to look pretty silly when the bomb squad opened it and it turned out to be from God. He decided to open it himself.

Inside was an eye patch—the kind that pirates wear—and a note: Wear this for a day and a secret will be revealed to you. George said it was a hoax and kept looking for clues to identify the sender. I told him we already knew the sender and he better follow the instructions. He handed me the eye patch and said, “Here, you take it. Get enlightened.”

So, I put it on first thing the next morning and wore it to work and when people snickered I told them that looking at the world with one eye closed was like scrunching at an optical illusion—it enabled you to see through the facade. That scared them away.

The only secret I learned was that the man two cubicles down wears a toupee and keeps a jar of sardines in his desk. But a day is twenty-four hours so I wore it to bed. And that was how I learned the truth.

It was a dream—just before dawn and the alarm clock. It was Vincent D’Onofiro. He was working in my office but we had never spoken. In fact, I had never really noticed him except that when he walked his feet didn’t touch the ground and that made him taller than anyone else. I didn’t find that odd. I didn’t find it odd that Vincent D’Onofrio was eating sardines two cubicles down from me. He was just another guy in the office. But one day he spoke to me. Casual. You know, the weather and my lovely eye patch. Then out of nowhere he said, “I love you.”

Well, that was really strange because, even though I watched Law and Order regularly, I had never thought about him in that way. He’s not Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt. He’s Vincent D’Onofrio. But he was leaning close with his boyish grin and feet floating and when the alarm clock beckoned I woke up smiling.

George laughed when I told him but I never sleep without my eye patch anymore.

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