The glass jar my mom throws pennies in plays the wedding waltz when you open it. You just have to wind it. When I was younger when my mom rolled her pennies it was my job to wind up the jar. When I heard the wedding waltz I knew my presence was needed. It made me feel needed. It was something I could do usually without help. It was important. Small things keep you going.
Over time the jar stopped working. The music got so slow it was chilling. You felt suspense. I’d imagine skeletons dancing. My parents seemed happier when they were younger.
Once when I wound the jar it went clank and died. I knew it was dying, I felt bad. My mom said look what you’ve done. She didn’t need me after that. She just rolls her pennies herself now, in silence.
But sometimes when she opens the jar it still makes one ding like a last gasp of romance. I can hear it even from my room. It reminds me of how things were. And for a long time, I’d get so sad. I’d close my eyes for a long time. But not anymore. I stopped winding my heart up a long time ago.
Rolli’s new collection of flash fiction, I Am Currently Working On a Novel, is available now.