The Lucky Tie by Jacqueline Jules

Alicia could wear a short cocktail dress, arms and legs open to the air. But Tim had to wear a three-piece suit with long sleeves. Even in this heat. At least he could carry the jacket on the subway.

 “Whose idea was it to have an outdoor wedding in July?” 

 “How should I know?” Alicia shrugged.

 “They’re your cousins,” Tim grumbled.

 “Only the groom,” she corrected. 

 Leaving the train, Tim gave a dollar to a bedraggled man pushing a grocery cart and another one sitting on the corner with a cardboard sign. 

 “Come on.” Alicia tugged his sleeve. “The ceremony starts in ten minutes.”

 Her spiked heels clicked on the pavement through the park.  

 They arrived at a stone patio where a string quartet was tuning instruments.  

 Guests were already seated. Tim pulled the jacket off his shoulder.

 “Your tie,” Alicia reminded.

 He reached into his pocket. Empty. Maybe he put the blue herringbone tie on the left side, not the right. Empty, too. 

 “It’s not there,” Tim told his wife. 

 “How could that be?” she questioned. “I saw you put it inside your coat.”

 He nodded. “As we left the apartment.” 

 “Must have fallen out.” She guided him to a seat. 

 Tim eyed the other guests. In spite of the heat, he was the only man with an open collar. Did that bother him? Not as much as the lost tie. Italian silk. Worn at the job interview which secured his position at Wilkoff & Associates. His lucky tie. 

 “I’ll look for it on the way back,” he told himself. 

 The courtyard was oozing flowers, a huge expense Tim knew from his own wedding, two years ago. He counted the rows of white wooden chairs. About three hundred people at probably $200 a plate. He did the math. Enough to pay off a student loan or start a small business.

 Unlike Alicia, Tim hadn’t been born into money. He was the son of two public school teachers, someone used to shopping for sales, budgeting for vacations. Sometimes his life as a partner in a prestigious law firm seemed surreal.

 After the ceremony, Tim wandered beside his wife’s relatives, plucking tooth-picked morsels off silver trays. His thoughts returned to the blue herringbone tie. Had someone found it? Who? 

 The man with the grocery cart? A teenager? Some kid on his way to an interview at Wendy’s. Would he look impressive in an Armani tie or be pegged as a thief?

 A few wild scenarios came to mind, including a grisly image of a suicide in a seedy motel. His tie couldn’t be dubbed “lucky” after that.    

 “I want to know what happened to my tie,” Tim told his wife. 

 “Forget it,” she said. “You have plenty others at home.”

 Her comment finally crystallized what was nagging him.  

 “I do,” he realized. “How lucky.” 

Jacqueline Jules is the author of Manna in the Morning (Kelsay Books, 2021) and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her poetry and flash fiction have appeared in over 100 publications including StoneboatOne ArtInnisfree Poetry Journal, Potomac Review, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and Imitation Fruit. Visit her online www.jacquelinejules.com