Harold’s Lucky Day

May 17, 2006

How many emotional wounds does it take to break a man’s soul?

For Harold Alfen, it was four-hundred and seven.

Harold was a decent fellow, if slightly off-kilter. He suffered from OCD, but most of his friends had no problem with his overly orderly nature.

At the youthful age of 8, he had decided that after exactly four-hundred and seven heartbreaks, he would give up on finding happiness in the world, and end it all.

He had, quite carefully, kept a tally throughout his life. It did not matter if they were great or small – a prematurely melted ice cream earned the same careful tick as when his high school sweetheart dumped him at the prom and screamed obscenities at him across the dance floor.

15 years, 6 months, 17 days and exactly 3 minutes after that incident, he was browsing the internet and discovered the news that his favorite author had just died. Run over by a dump truck, a stupid and ignoble death.

He marked it down… and then paused, and counted the numbers. He counted a second time, just to be sure – something that dear Harold never does.

But there they were, plain as day – four-hundred and seven hash marks, each lined up in perfect rows.

Nodding, as if almost in satisfaction, Harold calmly went downstairs to get his coat. It was dark out, but fate waits for no man.

When he walked across town to Dead Man’s Peak – a nearby outcropping that was the town’s locale of choice for suicide – he discovered it was already occupied.

A woman was there, staring out into the dark abyss. As Harold struck up a conversation, he discovered that her name was Margaret Bevay – and her lucky number was seven-hundred and four.

They have a pair of simply adorable children.

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