Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Conversion

So I'm taking this trip to Dublin next week...it's not a cheap city, and I'm not a rich girl, thus I'm scraping up cash from all available sources.

One of those sources happens to be a jar of change that's been sitting in the corner of my room for several months now. I've added to and pinched from it here and there, but the bulk of that spaghetti sauce jar's contents are the result of a joint venture between...He Who Shall Not Be Named, and myself.

Hence, every time I look at said change jar, I can't help but think about that day last spring when we made a label with his ancient & barely functional labelmaker that read "Vacation Fund," and excitedly emptied our pockets and personal coin stashes into it. Big plans were made. When we got to $100.00, we'd open a joint savings account just for our vacation money, and we'd keep saving it up and go...somewhere. Together. Didn't matter how long it took to save enough to go somewhere good, because, you know, we'd always be together. Right.

Last night, I dumped the jar out onto my bed and began to count coins to be rolled and cashed in. Five bucks in quarters...ten...fifteen...Unfortunately, the counting didn't sufficiently occupy my mind so as to prevent it from wandering to the place it spends waaaaay too much time these days. As I made stacks of dimes, I thought about how excited both of us were each time we dropped any coins in the jar, and how we competed too see who had more scratch at the end of the day. I slipped nickels into rolls and wondered which ones had come from one of our trips to Dom's Market to pick up dinner, or from vodka slices at the pizza place on the corner. I thought of the $25 he took out to go visit his mom, because at 33 he doesn't have a stable source of income, and of the shame I know he felt (and feels) about that. Every memory saddened me more, so I just kept counting. Thirty bucks...forty...I remembered the day that, at the tail end of one of our many huge, awful fights, I grabbed the labled jar off his kitchen counter and dumped half its contents into my bag as I was leaving. Wanted to make sure I got my half, since I was leaving and never coming back. Right. Fair's fair. No matter that it made him cry. And, you see, that's how half of this joint venture ended up in my own jar in the corner of my room.

I've spent all this time trying to figure out what went wrong, who's fault it is, which of us to blame, what either of us coulda shoulda woulda done differently so that this money was collecting interest in a bank somewhere instead of stacked in rolls on my gray comforter. As I sifted through the last of the coins, I realized that I'll never really know for sure, any more than I'll know which quarter came from where, which of our hands touched it last, or where the vacation fund would have eventually taken us. It's all a giant, inexorable tangle of things we both said and did and didn't do that all adds up to...well, a jar of change. Continuing to wonder and pine about it is as pointless as the penny, only far more painful. All there is to do is take what I earned from our venture, cash in what's left, and move on.

Sixty dollars, give or take. That's what it came out to. Sixty dollars.
I'm not quite ready to turn those rolled coins into bills. I need to look at them for a few more days, sitting on my nightstand. Then I'll haul them to the bank and let them go.

I'm taking that sixty bucks to Dublin with me. Those green U.S. dollars will turn into Euros, and at least a few of those Euros will turn into pints I'll drink to him, and to us, and to what was and what isn't, and to what is, and what will be for each of us, separately. When I come home that money will be gone, and while my memories of it will certainly linger, the joint venture will be behind me and I'll move forward, on my own.

R.I.P. HTF & DOW, 10/4/03-10/21/04

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