One day, almost twenty years ago, a young woman opened a drawer in her fiance's kitchen. There were pennies scattered amongst the utensils. She gathered them up and put them in a small bowl on the table. She opened another drawer and found a nickel and a dime. Hm, she thought to herself, and tossed them in the bowl with the pennies.
As the woman cleaned and organized the man's house, she kept finding loose change. A quarter here, a few dimes there, scattered nickels, and pennies everywhere. Too bad there is never any paper money, she thought.
The woman picked up the box from the top of the washing machine and carried it into the living room. What's this, she asked. Oh, her fiance said, that's just a box I never got around to unpacking when I moved (a year ago). They sorted through it together and the woman teased the man about the coins at the bottom of the box. He said he simply tossed his change wherever he happened to be. I've noticed, she replied. He blushed.
Why can't you just toss it all in one place, like this bowl? The bowl was getting full. Or keep it with you and spend it at the store? He had no answer.
At this moment, the woman hatched a plan. She would go through his entire house and gather up all the loose change. It would seed their honeymoon fund. She went through every drawer, every cabinet, every box. She searched his car. She lifted couch cushions and checked every pocket in every piece of clothing. She found many, many coins.
She opened the suitcase and there was a penny. There would always be a penny in the suitcase. After every trip, no matter how long or short, she would always find a penny in the suitcase. Where did they come from, she would wonder. She would check the lining for coins but there would only be the one penny. She'd always take it, knowing she would find another penny after the next trip.
By the time she had gone through everything he owned, she had accumulated $180 in change. The man was amazed at how much money he had casually tossed aside over the years. She was amazed too, but secretly a little disgusted that he had casually tossed aside $180 over the years.
She vowed to reform him. For years, she planted helpful bowls baited with pennies in convenient places. His change instead ended up on the counter in the bathroom or the kitchen, or maybe next to the bed. She instituted a "finders, keepers" rule for change left in pants to be washed but this did not change him.
She began swiping change as soon as she spotted it, just shrugging when he asked where his money went. If they were shopping together and change was due, she would hold out her hand first. She accepted he would never change and he accepted she would steal any change he had. They lived in peace.
Until today when she walked into her office and saw this. A plastic bag full of pennies. She stepped into the other room and asked, What the hell is this?! He grinned and said they were from work. Three years of pennies tossed in his desk. When he moved from one office to another, they moved with him. Today, he had gathered them up, for no particular reason. Perhaps only to annoy her. Or to please her. She didn't know.
She sighed and began to count. This means a trip to the bank for penny rollers, she grumbled. He shrugged and closed his eyes for a nap. On and on she sorted and counted until she finally forced order from chaos. There was not $180 of pennies. There was only $3.53. Why can't it ever be even, she wondered, why are there always leftovers. Tomorrow she'll roll them and take them to the bank. Or maybe not. The banks don't respect money the way she does. Maybe she should save them. Or maybe she should buy a bag of potatoes.
In the end, she knows he will never change, but she loves him anyway.