The old family home, bereft of life, a shell with sagging boards and faded paint, repository of a million memories.
“Is it safe to go in?” I ask, “I hid something upstairs when I was a kid.” The wrecker nods, “Go ahead, you might be surprised.”
The door teeters on one hinge, the knob tarnished and dull. My room is stained and wallpaper peels in yellowed sheets.
Dank air pools around my ankles as I pad across mouldy carpet. Wet patches have rotted and disintegrated.
I pull the corner of the carpet up, revealing blackened floor boards. Insects scatter in a flurry.
The boards creak as I jiggle swollen wood, fat with years of neglect. It comes away suddenly.
The cavity is damp and the box soft with decay. I pull it out with gentle hands, open the lid and probe inside.
A cloth bag falls apart and the contents spill; a dozen glass marbles with swirls of green and orange and yellow.
It’s forty years since I conspired with my brother. “These will be valuable when we’re old, Jim. I’m going to hide them.”
I gather them, cool in my palm, glistening and gleaming, the key to years gone by. I hadn’t known just how valuable.
by Debbie Roome
Back to the Table of contents