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“Hurry up, John! Mr. Paxton’s fixing to fire you! He’s telling the associates that crane incident story! That’s never good, John.” I heard Paul urgently whisper through the phone.
“Paul, you know that key?” I said, while flipping over the couch cushions.
“I lost it!” I opened the refrigerator, hoping I dropped it when I was getting eggs this morning.
“Who cares? You said it doesn’t even open anything so just hurry up!” I hung up, Paul didn’t understand. That crimson skeleton key was all I had left of my grandmother. In frustration I screamed, and my mind flashbacked to earlier days…
“Mom, I don’t want to see Granny Jean, I already made plans!” I said.
“John, she’s very old, we don’t expect her to live many more years.”
“C’mon, she’s always so happy and energetic I doubt she’s even close to dying. I’ll go see her next time.”
As I was walking out, I barely heard, “There might not be a next time.”
My cell phone kept ringing; but I ignored. Maybe my bedroom, yes, maybe when I turned in my sleep it fell off! I went in and checked every inch of the bed. I looked over at my closet. Maybe when I changed my shirt this morning the key fell off! I ran over and started searching the ground. I pulled out a box behind a pile of dirty clothes. As I looked down into the writing, Granny Jean, my mind went to another time…
I jumped as my phone vibrated and rang in my pocket. I was being interviewed for a company by a man named Steven Paxton, and he noticed me jump. Just as I was about to apologize, the intercom on his phone blared his secretary’s voice.
“Mr. Paxton, Human Resources needs to talk to you about an incident with a crane.”
Mr. Paxton sighed and excused himself. When the door shut, I pulled out my phone and pressed redial.
“Why haven’t you been answering?! I called you this morning and at lunch and a few seconds ago!” Mom was frantic.
“I’m sorry, what’s the matter?”
“Granny, she’s dead.” Both ends of the line fell silent.
I came back to reality as the phone rang. I picked it up and expected it to be Paul, but the caller ID said Jim’s Landscaping. I remembered I had called them yesterday because there was a hole in my yard. I told them it looked like a dog had been digging; but the truth was that I had gone outside to my garden last night to dig up an old tin box. I told Jim from Jim’s Landscaping that tomorrow he could come by. After I hung up, I went into the garage to get the very tin can I had dug up. Finally, i opened it and picked up the letter, leaving the picture.
I hope that you are having a good life. I miss you so much! I want to give you this key, also in the envelope. It once opened a jewel box that your Grandpa gave me but now the box is broken. I always look at the key and think of happiness and warmth. I have such fond memories of the key because… I choose to, and I want you to look at it with the same joy and happiness as I do. I heard you have a job interview coming up; good luck! Now I know you have a big life now, but your father left when you were just a bun in the oven, and you can’t be like him. You need to slow down and be with your mom. You always say you’re looking for the next opportunity, the next payment, the next promotion, and you never stop looking! I want you to hear me, John; you want to know how to find something you’re looking so hard for? Stop looking. It’ll turn up. You are an incredible young man, and don’t you forget that. I can’t wait to see you again.
Tears swelled in my eyes. I looked down at the picture; it was of my whole family. Since there was no father in our lives, my mom and I only had her side of the family. The picture was of my Aunt Elaine, Grandpa, mom, me, and Granny Jean. We all loved her so much, and she loved all of us. As the picture was getting soaked with my tears, I picked it up to dab it dry. As I was putting it back in its place, I saw something at the bottom of the box. Something that had fallen off of my neck when I was looking through this box last night. A small crimson skeleton key.