I used to keep my money in this tiny neon pink wallet with the Batman symbol pressed onto the front. I remember carefully folding each bill I had earned, slowly creasing the corners and wrapping new money around old. I used to count it each time I added more even though I knew how much was there. I would lay it out on my bed and count. Then fold it back up again, creases aligned perfectly, and tuck it back into that neon pink wallet.
At one time, I had over $270. I think I was eleven. My mother farmed me out as a babysitter for her drunk friends, but they paid well. I was going to buy a doll because I loved dolls more than anything. I even had one picked out. She wore a light purple onesie and a headband to match. You know the kind, those stretchy elastic bands with a bow.
I remember the day I went to buy her. I snuck into my room and to my hiding place and grabbed that pink Batman wallet, the one that held my hard work, my dreams. I gingerly unzipped the pouch to count my money, to lay out the crisp bills one more time before I spent them, but they were gone.
My mom had taken the money. I don’t know why. I probably never will. We weren’t wealthy, in fact, we were the opposite. I sometimes wonder where I left that Batman wallet, the one I cared so much about. I picture it in a dump somewhere in Montana, crusted with dirt and shattered dreams. I see it sliding down a hill of trash, buried in piles of other useless stuff.
I still wonder at that kid, that girl who saved and dreamt. She doesn’t seem to be the same. She struggles to save money but she’s good at saving other things–pictures, words, memories. At least she’s good at that even if they don’t fit inside a pink Batman wallet.