By Rachael Z. Ikins Every few days she threw loose change from her purse into a collection of 8 lb. coffee cans she stored under her bed. Every few years she spent a winter session on the floor in front of TV separating coins and sleeving them. She'd always done this, she told me. When her son was in his teens he stole $400 from one of the cans. He was desperate. He did not imagine she knew how much money each can contained. The first word that popped into my head when I saw her spread out on the floor, sleeves and cans of coins between her knees— "miser." I had never seen such a spectacle nor hefted an 8 lb. coffee can filled with coins. Too heavy to lift. I wondered why she never took them to the bank to add to a savings account. There were at least six cans, maybe eight. All the months we lived together, after I'd sleeved my own coins from one, lump-sum piggy bank shaped like a basketball, I never touched a coin from her collection though I knew she checked when I wasn't home, counting, stroking, whispers--numbers, amounts, balances under her breath. I don't know if she made her son pay her back but nothing would surprise me.