Family Fiction posted August 15, 2019

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An expectant father discovers a mysterious box.

The Box

by KenDavis

Taking a break in my home office, I reflect on this day being our third wedding anniversary, where does the time go? It's been 3 months since my wife informed me of the wonderful news we will be expecting our first child, a baby boy! The excitement of becoming a parent has me a little nervous. Off in a corner of the room my eye catches an antique cabinet once belonging to my father. When he passed away last year, I took it but never seemed to have the time to go through it. On the fringe of becoming a father, I thought it might be time to see what secrets it held. So I opened the doors and to my surprise, on the bottom shelf rest a large metal box secured with a padlock. I remember my father saying "son, one day you'll have a box like this". I never thought I would be in possession of this same box. As a kid I wondered why he believed it was necessary for me to have such a box and what I would keep in it. I don't however seem to remember it having a combination padlock. I try several possible 3-digit combinations, but nothing seemed to work. I close my eyes envisioning what numbers, such as birthdates my father could have possibly used, but fail short of getting it open. Now I was more curious about the contents of the box than the combination to the lock; but needing to finish some work and get to the store and pick up an anniversary present, I put the box back in the cabinet.
The clerk at the jewelry store asked me if I wanted the watch I had just purchased wrapped. When I told her it was for a wedding present for my wife, she suggested a gift box with a colorful ribbon. I told the clerk we were also expecting our first child. She asked if it was a boy or girl. I told her we were expecting a baby boy, so she used a combination of purple ribbons to wrap the box. She said purple was not only masculine but a symbol of royalty! I liked that idea.
Later that evening at dinner, the waitress and several customers who we didn't know, congratulated us on our anniversary as well as expectant parents. Presenting the present to my wife, she joked that the clerk must have suggested the fancy colorful ribbons as that is not something I would have done. She also mentioned how time was passing by so fast, and it seemed like just yesterday we were exchanging our vows. She also noted it would have been nice if my father could have met his grandson. At that point I shared with her the box I came across in my dad's antique cabinet, but because it had a padlock on it; I was unable to open it.
Having pulled into the garage and exiting our car, I noticed my wife wobbling overt to my tool box. She pulled out a hack saw and asked me if this might be the right combination for getting into the box. She said "it's your box now right"? I smiled as we went into my office, retrieved the box and while cutting off the padlock wondered what could possibly be inside requiring a lock. Opening the box we found hair from my first haircut, by baby booties and a colorful purple ribbon with the inscription "Our New Prince".

A short story by Ken Davis
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