Friday, October 21, 2011

my secret box

When I was young, I had a metal box that locked with a small key. I stored my most valuable treasures in the box and kept it hidden from everyone. I found the box in the neighbor’s trash with the key sticking out of the lock. It was rusty and dented which is probably why it was discarded. Usually I kept it in my closet, but when I thought my brother was looking for it, I hid it in the basement, or garage, or outside somewhere. I always hid the key separate from the box just to be extra sure my valuables were safe.

In my box were rhinestones, gumball machine trinkets, Cracker Jack toys, bits of colored broken glass, pretty rocks, beads, buckeyes, tiny pinecones, acorns, and Indian arrow heads. I had feathers from blue jays, cardinals, gold finch, and pigeons. There were a few dead butterflies, some sea shells, and a pressed four-leaf clover. I kept two little dogs and a fish that I carved from sticks. Also, I’d saved some Canadian coins, a Japanese coin with a hole in the middle, and some pennies that trains ran over and flattened. I hid my matches and some candles in the box too.

My most valued treasure in the box was a used tissue. I was about seven years old one of the times my mother visited. I stood beside her and watched in awe as she meticulously transformed herself in front of the bathroom mirror with a bag of cosmetics – face cream, foundation, powder, blush, eye liner, eye shadow, mascara, eyelash curler, brow powder, and lipstick. I thought she looked like a princess or movie star with her make-up on. My mother painted her lipstick on with a small brush and blotted her lips with a tissue forming a perfect pink kiss print. She dropped it into the trash and left the room. When she had gone downstairs and I was sure nobody would see me, I took the tissue and hid it in my box. Sometimes when I missed my mother very much, I pressed the tissue against my cheek and imagined she was giving me a kiss.

Mother's father holding me, and Mother

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