Ernie did not care much about watching the lottery, in fact he found it positively frustrating to watch random numbers pop up on the screen. The reality was that 6 numbers were drawn at random between 1 and 49, which means there are 49!/(6!*(49-6)!) combinations of numbers. The means that the jackpot chance is 1 in 13,983,816 or approximately 1 in 14 million. Why anyone would by a lottery ticket was beyond him.
Despite his bafflement over how anyone could possibly indulge in the idea of winning, he sat there every Sunday because his love for Bert was infinite. Besides, he enjoyed watching her ohh and ahh as the numbers came up and she made the cutest faces. Bert was an extremely educated woman, who knew perfectly well what her chances were of winning, but she only had to explain her reasoning to him once.
If she had been lucky enough to find Ernie, her one and true soul mate from 7 billion people living on planet Earth, then she had even better chances of winning the lottery. After that Ernie had nothing more to say, she made a good case, as always. It seemed no matter what the situation she seemed to be in the right about 99% of the time. She was like a force of nature, not to be reckoned with. A lesson he had to learn the hard way.
Like every good Nicholas Spark story there was a fair share of teary eyed drama to their love story, but that we will also save for another time. While Bert was busy, thinking out theories about how to choose her winning lottery tickets, Ernie was immersed in the world of music. From a very young age, he began to develop a taste for rhythm. His parents indulged him and let him join piano lessons, where he quickly advanced over the other kids in his class and quickly grew bored and moved onto other instruments. After the piano, soon followed the violin, the guitar, and later in his teenage years the drums. He felt percussion was his true love as when he hit that bass drum it felt like a second heart of his own.
At age 16, he was a musical prodigy, being able to play four instruments and had a band of his own, who managed to book a gig here and there around the town.
Not much can be said of people who want to grow up to be musicians. So many talented people fall to boring careers and never live to fulfill their dream and perhaps this was Ernie’s biggest fear. That he would become one of the many who failed in the attempt to make his dreams come true.
Ernie wanted to think he was different, he didn’t know exactly what it was, but he had this feeling deep inside him that he was meant for great things.
As the years went by the opportunities seemed to fade, and his chances of making his dreams come true appeared to lessen by the day. It is quite disheartening to feel your dreams slip away as grains of sand in between your fingers and no matter how hard you try to hold on to them, there is in fact absolutely nothing that can prevent you from becoming empty handed at the end of the day.
Negative thoughts seemed to creep up on Ernie like ants on a picnic. At first it was just a few, and it didn’t really made any impact on his life, but before he knew it they seemed to come by the dozens making life quite unpleasant and borderline unbearable.
It was difficult for him to find joy in doing daily routine activities and he had to really rally forces to go outside and meet other people. The mood just made him want to stay at home and stare at the ceiling.
With time he learned to manage to live his life with the ants in it. He could go about the mundane activities and function just enough that his mood would go unnoticed.
One day, walking back to his house he had a sudden crave for mint chocolate chip ice cream. He didn’t have feelings like this often so he decided to follow his heart. He took a detour to the closest ice cream shop and indulged with one scoop. As he took the first lick, his eyes settled on a grafitti on the wall opposite to the shop. This was a very nice neighborhood and he was surprised there was any grafitti on the wall.
It read: I fill myself with love and I send that out to the world. How others treat me is their path, how I react is mine.
This sentence struck home, as the ice cream started melting and dripping onto the sidewalk. Ernie stood there perplexed by the simplicity and complexity of the sentence. He took his phone out and took a picture of the wall and started to walk back home.
“I fill myself with love”, Ernie muttered reciting the words, he just read. He did not know what he was filled of, but it certainly didn’t feel like love. Perhaps he was filled with failure, uncertainty, unfulfilled dreams, sadness and other negative feelings. They dragged him down and gave him the constant feeling of almost drowning like he has to gasp and struggle to catch a breath.
How to fill himself with love, when things had gone so wrong? How to feel love, if the thing he wanted the most in the world was not granted? It all seemed like quite a big effort to make, and an incredible bother.
He went to sleep that night unable to get the thought out of his mind. He felt if he could see it again, perhaps he would feel better. He took out his phone and stared at the words on the wall, and this incredible urge grew on him and he took a Sharpie marker and scribbled the words on him bedroom wall. He took one step back to look at his 3 a.m. handwritten message on the wall and laid on his bed and soon fell asleep.