She found the penny on her first day of high school. It was just sitting there, right outside the front doors, unseen by the hordes of students yelling over each other. It was bright and shiny and caught her eye as she approach the entrance, a little bit unsure about what to do in this brand new town, brand new school, brand new big school. So when she saw the penny – lucky side up, of course – she picked it up, and smiled when she noticed the year. Her birth year.
She asked her dad to drill a hole in the penny and hung it on a chain around her neck. That was the first.
The bird charm she was given on her 16th birthday. A button that fell off her coat the first time she went ice-skating with the boy. A ring that she got from a 25-cent machine at the pizza place. A pink paperclip.
Little things. Nothings, really.
But each one had a story, held a memory. Laughter and smiles – and tears, she thought, looking at that button from that night with that boy that she no longer talked to – but all memories. Little memories, adding up to a big story.
And here she was again. First day of college. New town. New school. New, big, scary school.
But she got dressed that morning, favorite jeans and cozy sweater. She hesitated a minute when she reached for the chain. Was it not cool? She was in college now, she was supposed to be all grown-up, and she was pretty that meant necklaces that included paperclips were out. So she walked out the door, her neck feeling strangely naked.
She was only two steps from her dorm when she the familiar glint of a coin on the ground.
It was a penny. Lucky side up, of course, and when she looked closer she saw the familiar year.
She smiled as she closed her fingers around the penny, holding it for a minute before she slipped it into her pocket. Maybe it was time for a new necklace.