Felix found a penny on the floor at the Work House.
In the way of small children, it turned into a talisman. He’s got pennies in his bank, has some pennies for his pirate ship treasure, but this penny became special.
And then he lost it.
He and Betty searched for it all over the Work House, but to no avail. It was gone. Every few days, he would remember it and have a sad moment–no other penny would suffice. And then my last week of work came around; he went off to spend the week with various friends and family, while I spent the week training the new au pair.
Then, on Thursday, Betty found his penny.
“Cam! It’s Felix’s penny!” she cried, brandishing the tarnished coin like a doubloon.
I pocketed it gratefully. That afternoon, Felix came over for his last “playdate” with Betty. They were going to watch Betty’s favorite movie, which they were not normally allowed to do. I gave him his penny, giving Betty the credit for the rediscovery.
“Mama! My penny!” So easily pleased.
By the time we got home that evening, it was gone again.
Tears welled up in his tired eyes. His nose and ears turned pink and his lips trembled.
I told him the first of the two lies. “I’m sure it just fell out in the car. I’ll find it for you, baby.” I am reasonably sure that his actual penny is still in the folds of the big sectional at the Work House.
This morning, while switching the laundry, a stray penny tumbled out of the dryer, hitting the tile floor in the laundry room with a metallic clatter and jingle.
“What’s that, Mama?” Felix called from the kitchen.
“It’s your penny, baby,” the second lie poured out like maternal honey. “I found it over the weekend. Looks like it ran through the laundry in my pants’ pocket.”
“My penny!” he laughed, taking the coin and running off for his treasure box.