No Strings Attached

He found the wallet on his way to the bus stop. The leather felt smooth in his hands when he picked it up from the middle of the crosswalk between the pub and the restaurant. Looking around he didn’t see anyone else, and as far as he could tell, no one saw him pick it up.

Continuing across the street, he paused, wondering what he should do. On the one hand, he did find it, so that meant it  was his, yes? On the other hand, someone lost it and would surely appreciate getting it back, no?  He could tell by the heft of the wallet, and the thin green slivers nestled within the folds, that there was a considerable amount of money. What if there was no identification inside the wallet? What if there was?

Thoughts of what he might buy crossed his mind. Flowers, perhaps, sent anonymously. She might like that. Or candies. No one needed to know, especially not his wife. That initial gift might be followed up with others, and then an invitation to meet somewhere for an innocent lunch or coffee. Eventually, things would progress. There would be secret conversations, a late night rendezvous, perhaps a weekend away, before he was discovered.

A shudder ran through his shoulders, the weight of his life, the chain of years binding him to the path ahead. What would he say to their children? He could lose his job over something like this.

He glanced up and down the street. A neighbor, out walking the dog, waved. He waved back. When the street was empty, he stepped out into the crosswalk and placed the leather wallet back where he found it. “Let someone else ruin their life,” he thought.