One million dollars. The number one with six zeros after it.
Hannah blinked several times and turned away from the computer screen. When she turned back all those zeros were still there.
She’d won! After playing her six favourite numbers week in, week out, for seventeen years, they finally came up.
One million dollars.
It was hard to fathom having that much money, yet here it was, about to be deposited in her bank account.
Possibilities suddenly became reality – paying off the mortgage, the kids’ student loans, the car, the credit card… A holiday and gifts for friends and family. It was a dream.
Heart quickening, head swimming in thoughts of luxury, Hannah nearly passed out at her desk.
Instead she did her best to compose herself long enough to click the “OK” button and “Accept”, which sent the money to her nominated account.
She, Hannah, was now a millionaire!
Hannah could feel the corners of her mouth pulling wide across her face. Her face began to hurt from smiling but there was no way she could stop.
She closed the Lottery tab and stood up. As Hannah looked around her small home she felt the excitement building inside her. Was it real? Was it really real?
Hannah walked over to the kitchen, grabbed a glass from the cupboard and held it under the tap. She hesitated just a moment before wondering what she was doing.
“Water? I’m a millionaire! Where’s the bubbles?” she crossed over to the small liquor cabinet in the lounge. It hadn’t been opened since her ex-husband moved into his own place last year. An even wider smile formed across her face and she realised how jealous he would be! This was pure glee!
There wasn’t as much alcohol as she remembered and not much to her taste. Certainly there was no champagne.
She pulled out a bottle of vodka instead and poured a cap-full into her glass, drinking it down in one swallow.
It may have burnt her throat but at least it already seemed to be calming her nerves.
One million.
One million dollars.
Hannah returned to the computer – the empty glass in one hand, the vodka bottle in the other – and opened a new tab. This time, her bank.
After three security steps it finally brought up her new grand total of…
$11,842.09
Wait? What? Her smile faltered.
She read the numbers again. Eleven thousand, eight hundred and two dollars, and nine lousy cents.
Something has gone wrong. Someone has gotten to her money first! Her ex? How could he have known?
No – a banking error. Surely.
Another pour of vodka, another quick shot, and Hannah’s stomach felt like someone had scooped out the insides.
She re-opened the Lottery tab, signed back in, and checked past tickets.
There they were. The six zeros she had so quickly fallen in love with, and the decimal point she had somehow missed.
$10000.00
Ten thousand dollars. Not one million.
As her dreams of luxury disappeared, a new warmth entered her. Enough to ease the mortgage. Enough to pay off the credit card. Enough for a short trip. Hannah smiled again.
It may not be a million, be it was certainly more than enough.

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