Written with my Thursday night group with the prompts: 13 new ways to . . . , ended up in the living room, change, nobody breaks my heart, enduring, I hate it when that happens, manifest
“13 Ways to Save Money” the headline said, and the #1 way was to empty the change out of your pockets when you come home every evening. Put it in a bowl or a jar or a big sturdy envelope, and at the end of the week you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve got.
Mary started reading the article in the dentist’s office and that was as far as she got before the hygienist called her back. No matter that she never found out the other twelve ways. She resolved to work extra hard on the number one way, so determined was she to manifest her dreams of wealth.
She started by taking all the change from the hip pockets of her Levis, and from the coin purse she carried in the side pocket of her backpack, and the quarters she tucked into her running shoes, and the nickels and dimes that seemed to fall into her long braided hair during her long days teaching class. She put it all into an empty honey pot, along with a few dollar bills, and tucked it up in a kitchen cabinet next to the peanut butter and marmalade.
In the morning, Mary was amazed to see the coins had traveled all over the house, dropping like white rose petals on the staircase and the bathroom tile, surrounding her small bed like orange and silver beads, ending up in the living room, a pile of Buffalo head nickels arranged into a mandala on the coffee table between Sibley bird guides, scattered newspapers, and hand-written first drafts of sestinas.
Mary was distressed. She had so wanted to develop a new enduring relationship with money, now that she was single. She wanted money to know she respected it, and she was through fooling around, leaving her money in gin joints and dance halls. She wanted to change, but the change wouldn’t cooperate. Don’t you hate it when that happens?
Mary’s old boyfriend had left in a rage last week, insisting he didn’t care that Mary had rejected him. “Nobody breaks my heart,” he fumed. Mary didn’t argue, but secretly she knew her heart was broken a half dozen times every day, maybe more.
Her heart broke open when she woke to find her yellow cat asleep beside her on the pillow. She loved the way the citrus scented soap her friend sent her from Hawaii slid wet and creamy between her palms, and it broke her heart to see it melting away. Last week the freesias were blooming, but this week she was sad to see they were wilting. Her favorite eggs were as brown as minks, but all they had this week at the market were chalky white eggs. It broke her heart to read the last page of the Alice Hoffman novel about the Holocaust, and she cried whenever she watched “This is Us” on TV. She missed her mother who had released into a different dimension. She missed her old boyfriend, even though she had sent him away, and she missed him when he came back because he was not the same person.
Mary is not the same either. She cannot make herself taller, but her hands and feet are growing larger. Soon she will be able to carry large baskets of peaches all by herself. She will run faster and climb up steep mountain trails. She will find balance.
Photo by Jo Smiley Hailey on Unsplash