My wallet’s value counts higher than the dollars inside it


Saniya Mishra

The wallet I hold dear and the many cards stuffed inside it

I am a collector, not a hoarder.

I have an abundance of unnecessary items brimmed with sentimental value.

No, it’s not stamps or Pokémon or baseball cards. It is not something one would typically collect, and I have no fancy, pristine, or perfect binder to keep them all in. 

Instead, I have a wallet. A tattered, frayed, old wallet with more ripped seams than a broken heart. This is the dilapidated condition it has been left in thanks to my overflowing amount of cards packed inside. 

They’re not just any arbitrary cards. They’re the kind that come in the mail—not the fancy, valid credit cards but the fake ones: coupon cards for Macy’s, Kohl’s, JCPenney, and many more. They are plastered with percentages and catchy colors—with all caps and styled lettering and bright purples, whites, and reds.

I also have a few no-longer-functional hotel key cards. Some are even old, invalid credit and debit cards. 

With a total of only 20 pockets, excluding the cash and change compartments, my wallet definitely wouldn’t be able to fit all my cards with one per pocket. Instead, I have doubled up and even tripled in many places. The button clasp, therefore, locks only into the loosest setting.

To anyone else but me, the only value inside is the cash stashed in the opening at the top.”

Inside the first picture slot, I have an “If your child gets lost…” card with an image of my preschool self. The second contains a picture from a photo booth with my friends in third grade. It was from a fair of sorts at Meadow Brook; all my friends are happy, smiling, and youthful. 

To anyone else but me, the only value inside is the cash stashed in the opening at the top, which doesn’t add up to much any more thanks to my impulsive decisions at Scholastic book fairs, but inside that same pocket, I have my driver’s license.

It is beautiful, absolutely beautiful, and I love it. Not only does it say that my height is “this tall,” it never expires. I don’t plan on letting go of my most prized creation from preschool any time soon. Even a valid license couldn’t compare to the one I have, which has colored streaks haphazardly scribbled on it; this, and this only, is the one my teacher handed to me when I was about four or five years old, telling me to insist that I drive my parents home instead.

From the coupon cards to my preschool driver’s license, my wallet holds more meaning than what might first come to mind. Instead, it is a collection of wondrously silly things I somehow still love. 

It is filled with memories. 

It is filled childishly.

It is filled for me.