April 3, 2015

The Money Jar

Romy, Fred and Alvin have been housemates for three years. They divide the rent as well as the water and electric bill by three.
Romy is a high school teacher. He has a wife and a daughter in the province whom he visits as often as he could. He doesn’t have any vice and his only hobby is to watch tv. He cooks his own food and washes his clothes.
Fred is an accounting clerk. He is single. He is a quiet lad who normally keeps to himself. He pays whatever he owes and returns whatever he borrows. He usually stays in his immaculately clean room to read. He shares food with Romy and pays half of the amount they spend. He washes his clothes and keeps them in the best of condition.
Alvin is a computer programmer. He is also single who doesn’t seem to be thinking of marriage anytime soon. His room is a mess and he wears unironed jeans to work. He usually eats outside and sends his soiled clothes to the laundromat. He plays computer until nearly dawn and goes to work late. He is an obsessive gambler. When he loses, he borrows money from his housemates. But when he wins, he brings home food for everyone.
With his quiet ways and organized living practices, Fred is considered by Romy to be more preferable company than Alvin who seems to be immature and unstable. However, Fred prefers to be alone with his books as company so Romy settles for Alvin who watches tv with him when he isn’t playing computer games.
Naturally thrifty and preparing for his daughter’s future, Romy keeps a money jar. Every end of the month, he puts all his coins in the jar which he hides under his bed in his room.
One night, Alvin came home earlier than usual. He asked his housemates if he can borrow any money from them. Fred simply said he doesn’t have any extra while Romy handed a P200 bill, but felt secretly guilty about his money jar.
Alvin left that day and didn’t come home.
The following day, Romy received a call at the office that his daughter was brought to the hospital because of dengue fever. He filed a leave of absence and went home to pack a few change of clothes. Then, he reached under his bed for the money jar, but it wasn’t there.
He went over to Fred’s room but it was locked. Then, he tried Alvin’s door and found his room in its usual disarray. On the floor, he found the clothes Alvin wore last night, which meant that he came home earlier in the day.
Romy was furious. Obviously, Alvin came home, took his money jar and left. But how Alvin knew of its existence, Romy didn’t know.
Romy went straight to the hospital. He was enraged to find Alvin sitting beside his wife sipping a cup of coffee. He went directly to his housemate and punched him hard on the face.
Romy’s wife screamed and helped Alvin up. When she asked what his husband was doing, Romy told her about the missing money jar.
But he didn’t steal it..” Romy’s wife said.
What?? And how did you know?”
Because it was me who told him about it…”
In her haste to take their daughter to the hospital, Romy’s wife forgot her cellphone at home. He doesn’t memorize Romy’s number so she couldn’t call him using the public phone. Luckily, she has Alvin’s calling card in her wallet and called him at  work. It was Alvin who gave her Romy’s office number and that’s how she reached her husband. Knowing that they would need every penny they got, Romy’s wife asked Alvin to take Romy’s money jar to the hospital. Without any money himself to help his friend, Alvin volunteered to donate blood for the child and that’s how he ended up sipping coffee to get his strength back.
Ashamed and grateful, Romy apologized to Alvin over and over again. Alvin, however, brushed him off insisting that he understands how Romy feels because his mother was rushed to the hospital the day before that’s why he needed some money. But she got better overnight and was sent home.
When Romy’s daughter got well, Romy went back to the apartment he shared with Fred and Alvin. Fred never once asked how his daughter had fared even though he knew from Alvin that she was hospitalized.
(Original story by the blog author. Any similarities with other stories, fiction or otherwise, are purely incidental.)

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