Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1942387-A-Penny
by TessaT
Rated: E · Short Story · Family · #1942387
Mother & adult son search for a lucky penny. 650 wc
A Penny

by Theresa Tintori

Ben didn’t have to work that weekend, so he accompanied his Mom, Terri, for an out-of-town trip. He liked the idea of showing his support, even if he never fully understood his mother’s desire to run the distance races she kept entering. He knew this particular race caused her some anxiety. It was the longest distance she trained for and attempted; it wasn’t a local race, and then the weather had taken a turn for the worse. Ben wasn't sure how she would fare.

Ben was the younger of her two sons, just turned twenty-three, and was far from the small boy he was growing up. His height had him taller than his older brother, and he towered over his mother.

Once the activity was underway, Terri, somehow, not only managed to complete the race, but also scored a third place medal for her age category. It was a challenge, but once finished, there was some well-deserved celebrating after the race.

Just as they were about to leave the next morning, Terri mentioned that she was thinking about a penny she saw on the ground during the run.

“A penny?” Ben asked.

“Yes,” she said. “You’ve heard about picking up a penny?”

“Yeah, it’s supposed to give you good luck.”

“Yes. If it’s heads up,” Terri said. “But, what if it’s tails up?”

“I don’t know. Do you get bad luck?”

Terri went on to explain what a dear friend told her. If you see a penny heads-up, it’s good luck, so pick it up, but if you see a penny tails-up, turn it over to heads and leave it for the next person.

Terri didn’t really put too much into believing luck comes from finding pennies, but the thought of passing it on to someone else by merely turning it over intrigued her. She found herself turning over tails-up pennies ever since her good friend told her about it. What was the harm?

The problem arose when she saw a tails-up penny while running the race. She struggled with the decision to go back in order to turn it over, but by the time she realized what she saw, it was too far to go back. It had come up on her too quickly.

As they were making their way to leave, Terri explained her dilemma to Ben and her thoughts about it. Ben turned to her and said, “Sounds like we need to go flip a penny.”

They would be passing the run route on their way out of town. They drove to the area closest to where Terri saw the penny and parked. Terri shivered slightly as a breeze blew out over the bay along the pavement where they walked. She hunched her shoulders and wrapped her arms around her as they followed the curve along the water. Side by side they walked, making their way down the race route, scanning the ground. After a while, Terri knew they went farther than where the penny should have been. She finally stopped and shook her head. She reluctantly admitted it wasn’t there, so they turned around to head back to the car. “Ah, well,” said Terri, “at least we got a chance to walk along the water.”

They walked on silently until her attention was turned to Ben when he pulled his hand out of his pocket. He held out his palm showing a handful of loose change. They stopped, and Terri looked at him.

“Take it, Mom.”


“The penny.”

She didn’t move or answer him, but looked up at him.

“Take the penny and put it down heads-up,” he said.

She was confused and didn’t move.

“What’s the worst that can happen? That there are two pennies out here?” he asked, shrugging his shoulders.

Terri took the penny from his hand, put it on the ground heads-up, and smiled.

“Now, you’ll know one of them is heads-up, Mom.”

Isn't it funny, how a penny can have so much value?

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