Iowa Writing Project

It Could Happen

Katie (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

"Money doesn't grow on trees." I wonder who first said that. It was probably some cave parents who decided to pass on the lovely phrase to future generations so they could nag their children. I never gave the quote much thought until I was forced to use my own money for those extras that make my life a little more entertaining such as music or art supplies and clothes. All those fun items that your parents won't give you a dime for. I discovered that being a tight wad can be a blessing in disguise.

I adore two things in my life immensely: money and being a teenager. When I earn money there are no house, car, or gas bills that I have to deduct from it. It's all mine to spend as I chose. The question is whether I'll spend it wisely or blow it on jeans and C.D.'s. Jeans and C.D.'s almost always won that argument, until one Saturday when I really thought about it.

My friend called me up that lazy afternoon and asked if I could go shopping with her. "Sure!" I said fully knowing that neither of us really needed anything.

I went into my junk infested room and thought, I should really do some power cleaning. But now wasn't a good time, I had money burning a hole in my pocket. Well that money hadn't ignited in my pocket yet. First I had to get it out of my special spot. I checked to make sure no one was near. Opening a small box under my ferocious tiger, I removed the many bills and smiled. I wondered how much I should spend. Maybe I shouldn't spend too much, I thought, I don't want to end up totally broke. Suddenly a frightening image popped in my mind.

It was a cold, stormy night. The wind was howling like a hound dog. It was not an evening one would wish to be outside. Yet I was outside battling the weather in a filthy alley surrounded by overturned garbage cans. I was shivering in my ragged attire in the home that I shared with many vermin.

Soaked to the bone, I picked my sorry self up and began to stagger aimlessly down the street. I knew I had to find some place warm and dry if I was going to make it through the night. I paused at a home that looked vaguely familiar. Staring into a window that was opened a crack, I saw an older couple sitting near a roaring fireplace talking. " I sure wouldn't want to be out there tonight, " I heard the man say.

" Yes but you have to wonder how Katie's getting along. Since she 's gone broke I don't even know if she has a roof over her head," the woman replied.

"I've helped her with financial problems so many times but she just doesn't know how to manage her money. I should of seen it coming. Whenever I gave her money when she was a child she'd run out to the mall and blow it all," the man sighed.

My parents, I thought confused. They'll help me out. I went and rapped on the door. "Katie? " my mother answered the door, " What on earth are you doing out there?! Come in, come in!"

As I warmed myself by the fire I explained to them about my homeless state. Their eyes went from deep concern to rolling in disgust at my poverty. " Katie, why can't you be more like your younger sister, the millionaire?" my father exclaimed .

"Wait, back up, Sara's a millionaire? How?" I said shocked.

"She's saved her money and started her own business. Now she's living it up in a mansion in LA You should have made something out of your life," my father retorted.

"You're lucky she's visiting this week. Maybe you can beg her for an occupation and a place to stay, " my mother told me.

"I'm not begging Sara for anything. I am in crisis! How did this happen!"

I snapped out of my flashforward and stared at the money in my hands. I decided to take a lesson from my sister and join the American Enterprise System by getting a job and saving my money. Do me a favor and just don't tell my sister. I shoved the money back into the small box and smiled. Maybe somewhere money does grow on trees. But I'm saving my leaves just in case.