What a day. Work had been a disaster from the first meeting of the day where the teleconference kept disconnecting, to the last meeting of the day when the CEO told Adam to lay off three percent of his team. He had no low performers, but the bean counters didn’t care.

Some kids were playing on the sidewalk and Adam grumbled when he had to go around them. It wasn’t quite so irritating when he had to step into the street so the older retired couple could continue their walk down the center of the sideway holding hands. Hopefully, he and Maddie would be that couple one day.

Adam walked down the street wishing for a little alone time. No chance of that. Maddie and kids waited at home and his wife wouldn’t serve dinner until he arrived. He cut through one of the city gardens. As he neared a fountain, he saw a mother and teenage daughter arguing and two young couples planning their evening.

On a whim, he tossed a coin in the fountain and wished for five minutes alone. Without a sound the sky turned dark. He couldn’t see anyone or anything. Nothing. It was black as the darkest night and no sound reached his ears.

He stood frozen in place. What had he done? Surely that wish didn’t mean anything. Frantic and feeling the need to run, Adam stayed put, afraid to move for fear of the ground disappearing.

Adam stood frozen in place when, as quickly as it had gone, everything was back. He looked around. No one else seemed to notice. The mother and daughter were still arguing and he watched the two couples head across the street to a pizzeria. He glanced down at his watch. Five minutes had passed.

Adam rushed home. Thrilled to see his family, Adam grabbed Maddie and swung her around the kitchen before he kissed her, right in front of the kids.

“Ew, Dad,” Joey scrunched up his face. Parents didn’t kiss. Disgusting.

Maddie laughed, “You’re in a good mood. Now put me down before the roast burns.”

After dinner, Adam helped clean up, just to be close to Maddie. He was rewarded with a huge smile. It occurred to him he didn’t help enough around the house. Maddie had a job too. Why hadn’t he thought of that? He needed to help more around the house.

When Joey asked for help with math and Sara asked how to spell Tennessee, Adam was right there.

Yes, life was a gift and and he would never wish it away again.