Flash Fiction 4- What’s in the Round Box?

The challenge this week was to write a piece about what is in the round box?  It could be any style/format and the box could big or little.  I hope you like what I came up with and it leaves you feeling inspired.

The Round Box

By Melissa Davis

He couldn’t believe this little box was all he had left from his father.  There was no money, no house, nothing.  It figured the old man would take everything else to his grave or leave it to someone else.  All these years he had listened to the man rant and rave about every minute decision he had ever made.

“Why did you do that Thomas?  You’re working there? Can’t you find a better job?  I guess you don’t have the skills for a VP.  Why are you marrying that girl?  You’re mother was so much better.”  All the while the old man would rub his finger across the small round mahogany box, as if every inch of this thing was so much more interesting than his own son.

Thomas pocketed the box in his jacket the lump was the only evidence that he carried it with him.  Thomas left the funeral home and followed behind the hearse in the long black limousine.   He couldn’t help how final this all felt.  His father had been tough, but his gruffness had helped him become the man that he was today: strong, independent, confident, a hard worker above all else.  He couldn’t help but put his hand in his pocket and touch the only thing he had left of the man.

A year after the funeral he was standing in his office rubbing the side of the box he had perched on his book shelf. He was curious about what the box held inside, but he had never dared open it.  He had never once questioned why it was so important to his father or why this box seemed to hold his father’s attention any time they were in the same room.  He wanted to, but he just could not open it.  There was a dull hum of anticipation, like a sad boy staring in the window at a puppy he longed to have, but yet would never experience.  He could not help it anymore.  He pulled the box out of his jacket and heard it creak open as he lifted the lid.

Thomas took a deep breath as he peered inside its wooden walls.  Tucked inside was every milestone of his life.  There were pictures of his laughter, his smiles, his trophies, his diplomas, his wedding day, and finally his children.  Thomas shook his head in disbelief.  All those years while the old man had been so hard on him, all those times he thought he couldn’t do anything right and all the instances where he sought this man’s approval never reaching it and this is what the man kept company with?  A tear puckered in the corner of his eye lid.  He had told himself he would never cry, but the floodgates opened and his sobbed silently into his sleeve.  His father had never told his son how much he cared.  He had never shown any inkling that he even knew what he had accomplished.  As far as Thomas knew, his father didn’t even know how to do anything but put him down.  It was as if he were seeing his father for the first time, the man who cared deeply, but knew not how to show it.

Thomas shut the lid knowing that he had learned a lesson that day.  He did not want to be like his father.  He wanted his children to know how much he loved them every day of his life.  He opened his phone and dialed his office.  “Maggie?  Please put me down as out of town for the next week.  I have some vacation time saved up and I need to spend some quality time with my family.”  He heard the shocked gasp on the other side before Maggie followed through with his order.

It was time to live.  Time to slow down and enjoy the road he had worked hard to build.  He would never forget how things had been with his father, but he knew now why he had been left this box.  The best things in life are not the moments you keep inside.  They are the moments you live with the ones you love and share with the world around you.  He would learn from his father’s mistakes and become the father he knew his children deserved.  It all started with an “I love you”.   No matter what.

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