It was 10 in the morning, and I’d slept in because I didn’t have anywhere else to go, not since getting fired two weeks ago. The manager said that I came in late one too many times, but he didn’t seem to understand that I had my reasons.
“We can all make excuses, Scout.” That’s not my name. His calls everybody that. My name is Jen. Anyway, he said, “We all make excuses, Scout. It’s the people who rise above those excuses that become a success.” He said that like I dreamed all my life of being the best cashier I could possibly be in this terrible store. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to get paid from week to week. How does he have the nerve to lecture me about being a success when he’s going out of business?
He also acted like he didn’t notice that I was missing my right foot. I had a foot yesterday then suddenly I don’t, but that doesn’t matter. What a jerk!
You might be wondering why my foot was suddenly gone. It didn’t happen as suddenly as it seemed. It started gradually with the toes. One morning I woke up and my pinkie toe was missing. I put my feet on the floor, looked down as I yawned and stretched, and realize that the smallest toe on my right foot wasn’t there. The place where it once was was all healed over like I’ve never had a toe there. I panicked like most anyone would if they suddenly found part of their body missing. I pulled back my sheets looking for it in my bed. It wasn’t there. That was the first time I was late for work.
It wasn’t that big of a deal. Who needs a pinkie toe? I mean I have to wear closed-toe shoes to work, and I have a bunch of other toes. I ended up being 15 minutes late for work that day. I probably should’ve gone to the doctor that day, but doctors are so expensive, and I didn’t have any health insurance. That’s what happens when you only work part-time. So I ignored it since it didn’t hurt or anything. I had no idea how things were going to progress.
A few days later the next toe was gone on the same foot. It happened the same way as before. I woke up, looked down at my feet to move my little piggies around, and there were only three toes on my right foot. That was when the real panic set in. I could handle not having a pinkie toe, but missing a pinkie toe and whatever they call the one next to it was too much. I kept wondering how long this was going to go on. What would happen next? I called in sick that day. That probably made the manager mad because I called in at the last minute, but I was too freaked out to go to work. I couldn’t imagine standing at a cash register asking people if they found everything they were looking for when I was missing two of my toes.
I stayed at home watched healing videos on YouTube and did a few healing meditations. It took me two days to pull myself together. By the time I was ready to start going to work again another toe was missing. That’s right. Another one.
That’s when I realized that eventually all my toes might disappear. I didn’t expect to wake up one day to find my entire right foot gone, not as quickly as it happened at least. So I managed to hobble to work on one foot, and then my idiot manager fires me for being late. That’s life, isn’t it?
So I’ve been fired from my job, now my whole right leg is just gone, and on top of all of that I have this sinking feeling in my chest like everything is going to get much worse. How could it get any worse than that?
I was trying to decide if I should bother getting up or if I should just keep laying in bed waiting to disappear when a giant red fox appeared in my room. It wasn’t an actual fox like you see on a nature show. It was more like a man dressed up in a fox costume. The fur was matted, and the outfit looked like it was in need of a wash. The fox man walked right through the wall, and I nearly jumped out of my skin. If I’d had two legs, I would’ve run away, but with just the one I could only manage to fall out of bed and scoot along on the floor. When I reached my bedroom door, it swung closed, and when I tried to turn the handle it wouldn’t budge. My heart raced, and I could feel the sweat dripping down my back. I was so afraid I couldn’t think straight.
I looked behind me, and the fox man was standing there looking at me with his large blank plastic eyes. Then he said, “Calm down, Jen. Everything is going to be all right.”
That shouldn’t have made me feel better, but somehow it did. I sat back against the door and looked at him. His black nose was torn and hung by a few threads from his face. He took a few steps toward me, and I noticed that he had a slight limp. “How do you know?” I asked.
He shrugged and looked up. I looked up too, and the white popcorn ceiling was gone. Stars swirled in the sky above me, but they were closer than they should’ve been.
I knew I should’ve been afraid, but I a kind of peace settled into me. I took a deep breath. My fingertips started to tingle, and I looked down my hands to see them breaking apart before my eyes. The molecules that made me who I was were floating away like particles of dust on a beam of light. “What’s happening?” I asked, watching my hands disintegrate with a detached sense of curiosity.
“The stars are happening,” fox man said. He sank to the floor and sat cross-legged. “You are a special one, aren’t you?” He clapped his hands like he was watching a show and my arms started to break apart and float away.
It didn’t hurt. It actually felt good, better than anything I’d ever felt before. It was like being tickled by a million little fairy fingers. Even though I didn’t know what would happen, I wasn’t afraid of the unknown. I wanted to be part of the stars. Floating up into the galaxy was much better than having to search for another crap job on some stupid website while worrying about whether my other leg would suddenly be missing in the morning. That was hell, but this turning into stardust thing, that was maybe the best thing that ever happened to me. It didn’t take long, and when it was done, I didn’t need my leg or a job or anything else because I was free.