The phone rang with a aggravating shrill this late summer morning breaking into my dream. I reached out from under the covers and fumbled among the books and junk I had scattered on the bedside table and answered.
"Good morning Miss Lewis," the hotel operator said, "there's a gentleman here to see you. He says his name is Jud thurman. Shall I send him up?"
I sat up, instantly awake. My God, Jud Thurman, the insurance man! The months of waiting were finally over. This was the day I had dreamed of, yet dreaded, if things didn't go as I had planned. I swept my hair out of my eyes, alert but cautious.
"Would you ask him to wait ten minutes?" I asked. Then clunking the telephone down I jumped out of bed, ran into the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and pulled on a pair of jeans and a sweater. My red hair hung in flattened strands. I looked at myself in the mirror and Lordy, I really did look pathetic. But that was good!
Well girl, this is it I whispered to my pale reflection. And I forced myself to take three slow breaths to calm my shaking nerves and opened the door to a man with short brown hair, gold framed glasses over piercing brown eyes, and dressed in a blue pin-striped suit.
"Come in Mr Thurman," I said and patted my hair, and straightened the shabby clothes I had purposely saved for this. "Excuse my appearance," I went on, "you see everything I had was lost in the fire." My voice trembled and his eyes swept over me quickly. And to cover my nervousness I added, "I'm still trying to forget the horrendous sight of my house and all my things burning."
He cleared his throat after saying,"Miss Lewis, I'm sure it's a trumatic time." He then unbottoned his jacket and sat down in one of the two easy chairs in my room. Then soberly began taking papers out of his briefcase and aranged them in neat piles on the table between us.
Early morning traffic hummed just outside and faint wisps of exhaust crept in through the open window. My bed was unmade and magazines, a take-out carton and an empty soda can lay scattered haphazardly around my cramped, faded Southwestern decorated room.
My heart thundered in my chest and I was sure he could hear the thudding crashes banging against my ribs, as I sat perched on the edge of my chair, then I held my breath as he began.
"Miss Lewis," he said, "after a thorough examination and verification, my company concludes the fire was caused by a short in the wiring which ignited your painting supplies."
I exhaled slowly trying to control my nerves.
Jud Thurman then placed the papers in front of me and said, "I'll need you to sign these papers please, and then I'll have the check ready for you!"
I grasped the pen he handed me and signed my name on the specified lines, sure I was going to faint from fright and anxiety. Without hesitation, he handed me the check then and left wishing me good luck.
I closed the door after him and stared at the check. My God, it was over and I had one million dollars! And like a kid, I hopped up on my bed and began to bounce, up and down until my hair stood up wildly on my head and my breath ran out.
I'm rich, I'm rich, I'm rich I sang and then clamped my hand over my mouth when I remembered I was in a hotel and the walls were thin.
Now, finally I could start my new life. My dream!