Story 96 of 100

Elena Tucker
5 min readMay 22
Photo by Marcin Skalij on Unsplash

Second Chance

Have you ever noticed that in a story a bridge is never just a bridge. It’s always a connector — a symbolic object. Luckily, cereal is just cereal, and this is what I tucked into as I sat at my kitchen table.

I looked out the window. It always fascinated me, the morning rush hour traffic. Where are those people going to, what is at the end of their rushing? I looked toward the bridge in the distance. This bridge spanned the Don River, which emptied into Lake Ontario. It wasn’t the Golden Gate Bridge, but then, I could afford to live near here, because this wasn’t San Francisco. Who the hell could afford that place? Millionaires and people who bought or inherited their places generations ago, that’s who.

I was lucky. Some might say I was unlucky. As always, there were two ways to look at my story.

I was in witness protection. Sort of.

How many of us get a second chance at life? Like, a complete do-over? When I was a nurse in Oregon, I came upon some information I never wanted to know, and I saw some horrible things I shouldn’t have seen, and reported it. I wound up on the shit list of some very powerful, very rich, and very dangerous people — people with a long reach and long memories. Not all those people went to prison. Hence running, hiding, testifying, running and hiding again. But then — a clean slate.

A new life in exchange for helping to put away some of these bad folks. What did I want? I had been a nurse for 15 years by then. I was good at it, and I liked it. I never thought about changing careers prior to the incident. The question of now what? had not come up for me since high school.

At first, I was overwhelmed by the possibilities, but those handling me and my situation did not have such qualms. After the trials, they moved fast. They stuck me in Des Moines, Iowa. I was put to work as a cashier at a Hy-Vee grocery store, where they hoped I would always remain — that both I and they could retreat into mothballs, forget and be forgotten. But it wasn’t satisfactory to me, not by a long shot, not by a mile. I started making plans.

First, I signed up for some writing classes at Des Moines Area Community College. Afterwards, I applied for Canadian citizenship. Wowzers! You would have thought…

Elena Tucker

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.