This piece was created through KSP's school holiday hub program.
It started with a simple note of encouragement left on a windshield. Then it was another on a different car, about two weeks later. After that, a month passed to find an envelope of money on another windshield. And then another note of encouragement; a voucher; two tickets for a new movie; more money; another voucher; more money. It went on for about half a year, two people finding more and more little bits of luck and love all around them. All of them were left with the same note: Don’t repay me. Pass it forward.
Jonathan woke early, the few sounds of cars fading to background noise as he watched the sunrise over the skyscrapers from the window of his resort apartment. He basked in the rare opportunity to laze around, courtesy of the weekend voucher to a holiday apartment situated between the city and the beach. It was yet another gift from someone left on the windshield of his car, and he thanked whoever was in charge of fateful encounters that it had been left there when it had. The past month had been particularly stressful for him at his new job, crowding him with stacks of paper to copy, file, and interpret into presentations, and this little voucher had provided the perfect getaway for him. He regretted his habit of rising with the sun that he’d developed over the time at the office, but still enjoyed the sunrise - especially as the sun’s rays caught the glass at the bottom of the skyscrapers, providing an illusion of a gold foundation. Deciding to make the most of both his rising time and the time he had away, he readied himself for a drive to the nearby beach, enjoying the near silence that the early morning brought. The carpark only had about three cars and the beach held a couple walking along the waterline and another woman sat in the sand.
Jonathan rustled through his wallet, looking for something that might provide a good ‘pass-it-forward’ item and finding one of the envelopes he always kept, a few twenty dollar bills and a pen. He scribbled a note and a joke on the envelope and left two bills in it, tucking the flap in to save him licking the paper. Pulling his towel out of the boot, he made his way to the nearest car - a black and red Mini - and placed the envelope on the windshield. It was odd how many of those he received on his car, but not unpleasant. He wondered what attracted people to his car in particular. Maybe it was just convenient for them.
He turned to the path over the sand dunes and made his way to the water, setting his towel down on a slightly sloped patch of sand and reclining in the small streaks of sun that made it over the crest of the dune behind him. It was early enough that a few stars still glimmered in the darkness over the sea and the dark velvet of the night sky had paled into a soft blue over the city, behind which the sun rose. It all came together for a very pleasant, calming scene, quiet chat from the couple and barely audible music from the girl diagonally behind him blending together as background sounds. In all 24 years of his life, Jonathan didn’t think he’d ever been quite as relaxed as he was now. He was just ... lonely. No-one to talk to, too early to call someone. He could just talk to someone at the beach, but he wasn’t the best in impromptu social situations. And, the girl from behind him had suddenly begun to introduce herself.
‘Hi, I’m Madelyn, but call me Mimi. I prefer it,’ she said, bent slightly at his side, one hand resting on her thigh and the other extended in greeting. Jonathan reached up and shook it, the movement making Mimi’s sheet of light brown hair tremble slightly.
‘Jonathan. It’s nice to meet you!’
‘You too.’ She paused, and looked out over the ocean, obviously searching for a conversation.
‘So, what brings you out here at …’ Jonathan checked his phone for the time ‘... at 5:20 am?’
Mimi flicked her gaze back to him and lowered herself to the sand beside him, face relaxed as the stress of finding a conversation starter was taken.
‘I was up early because I couldn’t sleep. Something was - has been bothering me a bit, so I thought I’d just come down here to think. I’ve been here for about ... half an hour, if it’s 5:20. And then I got a bit bored so I came to talk to you. Because that’s what you do when you’re bored, you talk to strangers.’
Jonathan smiled, leaning back on his elbows. ‘Do you want to tell me what’s bothering you? I mean, I may not have much experience in counselling, but I can listen,’ Jonathan offered, softening his smile to something more welcoming.
Mimi tilted her head as she considered his offer. ‘Actually, yeah,’ she sighed, bringing her knees up to her chest and wrapping her sweater-clad arms around them. ‘It’s … What’s bothering me isn’t really negative per se, it’s just ... odd. Weird. But ... good. I guess. If you like getting stuff, then it’s good. It’s just confusing, more than anything, really. And, like I said, weird.’
‘About 6 months ago, I started finding envelopes with money or vouchers in them either on my car or on my apartment balcony. As a kind of pass-it-forward thing, I guess, going by what was written on them. With the money I found in them, added to my earnings, I had enough money to finally afford a new car to replace my old, rusty one. And then, with a stroke of good luck, I found a new job with a significantly higher pay, and I had enough to rent a much better apartment, which I’ve been living in for about a month now. But it’s weird, because about every week, I find another envelope with either money or a voucher in it. They came in all places - my old apartment, my new one, my old car, and my new one, which I just had repainted.
‘And of course, I pass it forward, you know? As one would do. Usually I just leave little notes and the occasional cheque or twenty-dollar bill, or sometimes vouchers. Last time I passed it forward, it was a holiday voucher to a resort somewhere over there.’ She lifted a hand and gestured behind her in the general direction of somewhere on the north end of the city, still watching the waves.
‘But it’s a little weird to get all these pass-it-forward notes. Because it’s not common, you know? Most people only get them once or twice, if they’re lucky. Or not at all, in most cases. Anyway, I’ve noticed a lot of them that have writing on them have a similar handwriting, so I’ve kinda wondered if someone knows me and is just showing favouritism, or if it’s purely accidental. It would be understandable if it was, because I’ve been switching a lot of stuff up lately, so … I don’t know. I mean, I don’t really search for things to leave mine on. I just find something and leave it on a car or window.’
Jonathan watched her while he processed her words. The similarities between what was happening between him and her … What were the chances?
‘Mimi, I think - I really don’t know how it’s possible, the chances of this must be incredibly slim, but the same thing has been happening to me - and the last one I got was an envelope with a holiday voucher to a resort in that area-’ he waved his hand in the direction Mimi had earlier ‘-with ‘Enjoy!’ written on the envelope. So … if you get what I’m saying …’
She stared over the gently lapping waves, her hair catching the sunlight.
‘That’s odd,’ she finally spoke, turning to look Jonathan in the eye.
‘Well, thanks for all the money!’ she winked, a smile spreading across her face as she stood up, brushing sand off her knees. ‘There’s enough that you could join me for breakfast, if you wanted.’
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I'm Rebekah Thompson. I love reading, music, writing, and rainy days. I've been doing ballet for eight years and contemporary dance for three. Because dancing requires a lot of energy, I enjoy curling up on the couch in loose clothes with a book or computer in my spare time.