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An Empty Box
by Paula Titus
2/09/2008 / Short Stories
"Get down Stinker," Addy's cat pounced from the tattered recliner just as her bottom hit hard. Her knees didn't bend quite right anymore which resulted in a short fall to her beloved chair.
Addy shuffled through used tissues and stacks of mail on the table beside her chair until she found her deceased husband's letter. It was a handwritten letter instructing Addy concerning personal matters. She skimmed it over a few days after Bill's death but now was ready to take a better look.
In the last paragraph Addy found it, "Ahhhaah! The key to his box." Addy recalled several arguments she and Bill had over his mysterious wooden box. Never in their sixty-seven years of marriage did Bill reveal his secret.
The letter read:
"key is in the shoebox with your red shoes. I want you to"
Addy instantly threw Bill's letter aside and gave her recliner an impressive rock to assist in shooting her bottom upward. She shuffled into her bedroom, opened the closet door, and looked up to the top shelf. Addy grabbed her cane from beside the bed and began whacking in the direction of the shoebox. She felt satisfied that only three other boxes were knocked down in the process. Shoes hit the floor as well as a small gold pouch.
Addy seized the key and turned to open Bill's dresser. A spark of excitement made her heart flutter when she opened the drawer and saw the antique, hand carved wooden box. She carefully picked it up and ran her fingers over the rounded edges, admiring the smoothness of the wood. "Been waiting sixty-seven years to get you open," Addy was elated.
She set the box on the bed, unlocked it and slowly opened the lid. Stunned, she stared into an empty box. Then, Addy heard something that sent her reeling, "Make your wish, silence is bliss."
Addy regained her balance and quickly slammed the lid of the box shut. "Crazy."
Several minutes passed before Addy convinced herself she was hearing things. She decided to open the box again, "Make your wish, silence is bliss."
Five times Addy closed and opened the lid, hearing the box speak each time. The sixth time she left the lid open and spoke into the box as if it were a microphone, "I wish my house was clean."
Addy shuddered when in that instant her bed was made, the dusty furniture glowed, and the carpet appeared freshly vacuumed. Addy walked into the living room to see the same. She hurried into the kitchen and saw a month's worth of dishes all washed and put away, "Incredible!"
Immediately Addy picked up the phone to call her sister. "Jenny, you wont believe this"
Addy proceeded to tell Jenny about the wish and after she finished the story the house was suddenly again filled with dust, strewn garbage and unwashed cereal bowls. "Let me call you back Jenny." Addy hung up the phone and grabbed the wooden box. "What's going on?" She was yelling at the box when Stinker entered the room.
Suddenly Addy had a wonderful idea, she spoke into the box, "I wish for a nice cat friend for Stinker." A fine looking tan cat appeared in the doorway. The two cats purred, rubbed necks and Addy thought she had never seen Stinker look so happy.
Addy looked up to notice her favorite mailman on the porch, "Hi Robby, look at our new friend." Addy beamed, pointing to the cat.
"That's a good looking cat you have there Addy." The mailman smiled and listened while Addy told him the remarkable story about the wishes.
When Addy returned inside she searched the house for her new cat but soon gave up. She retreated to her chair and held the box in her hands, "Stupid box, you must be broken." Addy tossed the box on the table amid the used tissues and picked up the letter from Bill.
The letter continued:
" never told you about the box. Early on, I wished for everything I could think of. But soon I realized every time I told someone about my wishes coming true, they'd disappear. After awhile I figured nothing was worth having if you can't share it with someone. I only made one more wish after that - to meet someone wonderful I could share my life with. I met you that very day.
That's why I couldn't tell you about the box, I was too afraid of losing you.
Paula Titus is an administrative assistant by day, freelance writer by night. She also writes articles for gotquestions.org and is an avid blogger. With coffee racing through her veins, she eagerly tackles each day, one word at a time. Check out Paula's blog: http://mywritefulplace.blogspot
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