Ten Quarters, Five Dimes, Two Nickels, and Five Pennies
by Kathleen Clauson, copyright 2005, first published in The Binnacle.
Rosemary thought Bill would buy her flowers for their anniversary.
She imagined him, hurrying home, with a bouquet of blush pink roses. She washed a fluted vase in soapy water and left it on the counter.
Rosemary sliced paper thin ringlets of onions for beef stroganoff, taking care not to break the rings. Everyone knew breaking circles brought bad luck.
Bill was on time. He didn't notice the candlelight or Rosemary's pink dress. She checked the pockets of his jacket--nothing there except a starlight mint wrapped in cellophane.
After dinner, Bill went next door to help Joe with his taxes.
Rosemary's eyes were closed when Bill stumbled upstairs. He stacked ten quarters, five dimes, two nickels, and five pennies on the dresser.
While he snored, Rosemary crawled, bare-skinned across the plush carpet. From his wad of cash she plucked out three crisp bills.
Tomorrow she would buy the flowers herself.