The Neon 3

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The sun had fallen. Stars had not quite sprinkled the sky.  The old man fought his way to the door of the corner market amidst impatient cars dodging into empty parking stalls. Inside the market, tiny-wheeled grocery carts manned by grumpy shoppers whizzed everywhere without traffic regulations.  One shopper bumped the man’s cart while another complained about the thickly-sliced bologna.

The old man quickly finished his shopping and propelled his cart toward checkout line number 3.  The mesmerizing neon glow of the sign stopped him. It wasn’t the shape or size of the 3 that made him pause, but the beautiful illumination! It was not just hot pink, but contained a hint of blue, making the intense color veer toward magenta. It must have been an illusion, but the 3 seemed to proudly float in front of its black square background home.

The old man grasped the handle of the cart but an invisible force prevented him from moving it. He was always paralyzed in awe from any color one might consider even slightly purplish. As the old man continued gazing at the 3, the noise of the late-evening scramblers was silenced.  The 3 became like a beacon of a lighthouse, inviting weary travelers to the paradise of its peaceful shore.

“Sir, would you like to go ahead of me?” A lady next to him politely interrupted his trance. She must have noticed the old man’s cart contained only a few items. He nodded no thanks and let her swivel into the line.

Maybe it was his nature of being Pisces, but he always became entranced when perceiving an object of wonder. A tiny leaf, a bejeweled insect, and now a 3 whose vibrant color burst through the dimmest aisle of a dank food market.  The 3 made everything alive and real.

“Mister, are you okay?” The old man nodded to another lady in line, knowing by her glare she considered him insane. He wondered if anyone noticed the exalting color. He returned his attention to the 3.  The resplendent 3!  The number seemed to pulse with a blinding luminescence. It summoned all to pause and be thankful for this Gift of Life. It split the darkness with hope. Like a supernova in a faraway galaxy, the 3 had the power to halt time.  3! The beautiful 3!…

“We are closing in five minutes, sir.” The old man turned around to the deeper voice of a security guard.  “Please get in line if you want to check out.”

The old man obeyed by slowly wheeling his cart into the line. “Will that be cash or debit?” the attendant asked as she flipped off the lighted sign. The unpleasant noise of impatient shoppers poured back into reality as the 3 was blackened. The man paid and was ushered out the door. Although he was not religious, he later testified how he discovered God who broke through this dimension, disguised as a neon number.

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