Daily Prompt: You’ve been given a key that can open one building, room, locker, or box to which you don’t normally have access. How do you use it, and why?
It was locked when my father died, 15 years ago. Mom had long moved out of the house, and my brother, I suppose out of respect for the memory of my father never entered the room. This was Dad’s hang-out room. It had double doors, and a huge sliding window that looked over the front yard. The San Diego afternoon sun used to beat directly into it, making it feel like an oven.
It had been years since I’d been in that house, and I walked around, looking over the photographs Mom had put up on top of a stereo cabinet, still with the old broken reel-to-reel tape player and tapes. My father used to calligraphy the titles onto the box ends. He had amazing detail in his penmanship. Looking over the over-filled, overly large gray couch was a painting my parent had bought in the Philippines. In it were two old fashioned fishing boats. I’d looked at that painting a million times in my life, so much that I’d taken its existence for granted. When I reached Dad’s office, I asked “Do you mind if I look inside Dad’s office?”
“No,” he said, digging the key out from the back of a dusty drawer. “Have at it,” he said, handing it to me.
I took the key and opened the door. The trash can still had bits of notes that he’d thrown away in the days before he died. Pieces of his old ham radio were still mounted on a wooden hand-made desk. A couple of CD’s lie next to the computer he used. He loved Ave Maria. The carpet was faded from the sun, and I could see dust in the air, unsettled by my presence. When Dad was alive there wouldn’t be a single speck of dust. He’d probably vacuumed it every other day. He was anal about things like that.
The closet shelf still had a couple of World Book Encyclopedias with a handful of technical books their brown leather binders now falling apart. On the floor was the old finicky projector that always shocked and overheated and ate tapes. A couple of boxes of old childhood tapes that we watched over and over as children were tossed carelessly next to the projector. I remembered Dad loved to set up floodlights at Christmas and film us opening presents. They were old black and white film reels, no audio, of course, and people walked like Charlie Chaplin, in fast motion, everyone smiling and waving at the camera. You could just imagine Dad saying “smile and wave!”
Scattered on top of his desk were QSL cards — notes that ham radio operators sent to each other, his CIA paperweight, and various instruments for drawing and calculating.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, imagining I smelled Dad’s presence in this room. Then I left, locked it, and gave the key back to my brother.
“Anything interesting in there?” He asked.