After a Breakup, She Wrote Her Name on a Dollar and Spent It — Years Later, It Came Back to Her From the Man She Would Marry
She sent the dollar bill out into the world, and it came back.
*Featured image contains photo by Jonathan Borba
Paul Grachan had been out on a few dates with Esther. Things just seemed to click, and he decided to make things more official and ask Esther to be his girlfriend. He called Esther and the two made dinner plans for the end of the week.
The next day, Paul ran to the grocery store to pick up a few things. After bagging his groceries and taking his change from the clerk, which consisted of a few dollar bills, his next stop was a neighbourhood deli to pick up a sandwich for lunch.
Paul remembers that otherwise unremarkable moment when he took out his wallet to pay for his sandwich. “I pulled out the couple bucks’ change that I had gotten from the [grocery] store, handed the clerk one of the ones. And then I looked at it and I pulled it back.”
He Decided to Keep the Dollar
That’s because, on the bill was written the name ‘Esther.’ He thought it was a sweet coincidence and decided to keep it. He thought it would be fun to give it to Esther and tell the story during their dinner on Friday. Later, he decided to go an extra step and frame the dollar bill. He bought a gold frame and wrapped it up.
“So it was floating in the middle on this piece of gold,” Paul recalls, “as if you’re going to go in a church in Italy and they had a fragment from the robe of some saint or something like that. And I called it the Immaculate Dollar of Arlington Heights.” Paul thought it would be a fun way to provide a moment of connection before he asked Esther to be his girlfriend. He wasn’t expecting much more of a reaction than a smile.
It Wasn’t the Reaction He Was Looking For
But when Paul presented the framed dollar as a gift, Esther was speechless. Instead of smiling, she looked deeply worried. Paul tried to lighten the mood, explaining, “It’s a dollar bill with your name on it.” But to Esther, it was much more than that.
But Esther wouldn’t explain. She waved it off, telling Paul that it was nothing, to remind her to tell him a story later. Paul just wanted to enjoy the moment with his new girlfriend, so he let it drop.
The Dollar Bill Resurfaces
It would be several years before Paul saw the framed dollar bill again. Paul and Esther’s relationship had only gotten stronger. They got engaged and were married. One afternoon, as they were unpacking boxes in their new home, Paul found the photo frame wrapped in paper.
Smiling to himself, he walked into the bedroom to find Esther. He held up the photo frame and said, “Hey, you never told me about this dollar. What’s the deal with that?” He remembered her concerned look the moment that he had given it to her.
Esther knew that it was time to tell the story. She started slowly, “I knew that we were going to be married the day that you gave me this dollar bill.”
The Dollar Bill That Defined Their Lives
“It was pretty crazy,” Paul remembers. Esther went on to tell him that years before meeting him, she was coming out of a failed relationship.
Rather than dwell on it, she decided upon a symbolic act that would help her move forward. She took a pencil and wrote her name on a few dollar bills. She spent them and imagined their journey through the world, saying to herself, “The guy that gets this dollar bill is going to be the guy that asks me to marry him.”
Years later, when Paul presented her with one of those dollar bills in a gold frame, it took her breath away. In the moment, Esther froze, not wanting to say anything that would scare off her new boyfriend: “I didn’t want to freak this guy out and be like, what, this girl’s already talking about marriage?”
But in her heart, Esther knew Paul was the one. And as destiny would have it, the two ended up in a serious relationship, eventually getting married.
A Beautiful Symbol of Connection
Paul says he’s not one to put much emphasis on coincidences, but the story of Esther’s dollar bill hit too close to home.
“Now it just sits in that very same frame up on our dresser,” he says, “and I look at it every day that I wake up. Sometimes I remind her that we have it when she’s upset at me or angry.”
Esther agrees that the dollar bill makes her feel even more connected to her husband; she’s comfortable in the knowledge that Paul is her soulmate. The two have been married for almost 30 years.
“I know I’m stuck with you,” Esther says to Paul. “You got this dollar bill.” The universe does indeed work in mysterious and wonderful ways.
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