The Red Piggy Bank
Lying on my bed, I set down my homework and let my eyes wander around the room. A doll cradle filled with my childhood friends, an easel sporting unfinished artwork, a pile of CDs leaning against the red piggy bank. The red piggy bank. I pull myself off the bed and limp over to the bookshelf, walking on a leg of pins and needles. Leaning the CDs the other way, I take up the ceramic pig in my hands. It’s heavy, filled almost completely with quarters. I bring it back to my bed and dump out the contents, running my fingers through the silver treasure. The plump, hollow pig has lived with me for about fifteen years now. It came with me the day I left Uncle Judd’s apartment for the last time.
I visit the apartment in Tutor City, home to antique furniture and old relics from the theater days: the air a mix of cologne and cats, red wine float- ing in crystal. I sit on the couch, sinking into the cushions, my legs stuck out straight in front of me, feet dangling just over the edge. Clicking them together, I watch the lights on my new sneakers flash on impact while I wait for him to return. His grey-blue eyes beam at me from wise creases, wrinkles that have lingered from old smiles. One of the cats slinks into the room. We are familiar with each other. A friendly nudge at my feet encourages me to sit up, but the couch swallows me again and I surrender to its leathery orifice. Uncle Judd: grey-white hair with a mustache to match. He presents me with the traditional bowl of croutons. I snack on the bits of dry bread, watching the cat’s tail twitch in reaction to the scents it picks up during a close exam- ination of my jacket. I’ve been told it’s the last visit. Uncle Judd is moving south to live with his immediate family. He forgets things a lot.
Alone again, I lick the crouton flavor from my fingers and then wipe them across my jeans. He returns. I hope he didn’t see that—my mother wouldn’t approve. He jingles a handful of quarters. I squirm off of the couch and take the shiny coins from his hands. We go together to his nightstand where the big red piggy bank lives and I slip the quarters through the top, one by one, listening for their chime. Uncle Judd picks up the red pig, exposing one spotless circle on the dusty nightstand. He carefully places it in my arms, making sure I have a steady grip on it before I carry the pig proudly from the room. Once home, I ceremoniously place the pig on my own nightstand and slip a few of my own quarters through the top, christening it into its new home.
A few years later, we visit Uncle Judd in his new home. He yells at his daughter and storms out of the restaurant. He is lost in his own mind. My mother tries to comfort him. She relays memories from the past: how he used to hold me in the old rocking chair, find games for me to play while I munched on a bowl of croutons, slipping quarters into the red piggy bank together. To Uncle Judd, these are another man’s memories. They are just sto- ries to him now, but he seems to find some comfort in my mother’s smooth mezzo.
When we return, I run to my nightstand and rest my hands on the red ceramic pig. The cool clay is solid and sturdy, weighed down by years of quarters. Relief seeps in with the familiar scent of my room. The red piggy bank remembers; the couch and the cats and the croutons and his grey-blue eyes smiling.
Kirsten Freiman is a senior creative writing major at SUNY Geneseo. She has never been published before and is thrilled to be a part of this publication. Kirsten enjoys writing and performing original songs and has been a featured artist at multiple venues, including The Vagabond Cafe in NYC. She would have tea with Mary Shelley to discuss a feminist reading of Frankenstein, and how it reveals man’s obsession with creating life.