One day, while walking to work, I found a small, pink piece of paper decorated with a bright red sticker in the shape of a heart. Written on it in loopy, whimsical cursive was “I love you, honey.”
It struck me as endearingly romantic, so I picked it up.
It lived in my wallet for a while, then moved to the top of my dresser. Periodically, its message would be obscured by loose change or unpaired socks. But whenever I cleaned, I would make sure that it was put right back where it had been. Where I could see it every day.
It made me feel good to know that love like that existed in the world. It may not have been mine, and it may not have been represented by anything more than just a dirty piece of paper, but it still existed. Someone was able to open their heart to another person. Able to share hopes, dreams, fears, secrets… With seven billion people on Earth, the odds that the right two are able to find one another are astronomical, but it happens all the time.
That’s the power of love. That’s what has caused thousands of generations of humanity to weep, wail, and cry in sorrow. To gnash their teeth and rend their garments. Though I suppose rending of garments applies to more positive outcomes of love, as well.
It’s something I believe in.
So it was an unsettling day when I – in the middle of a lovesick depression – looked at the message more closely. Closely enough to realize that the cursive was both loopy and whimsical enough to cause me to misread a single letter. And that I had treasured for over a year a message that read “I love you, money.”