By Andrea Watson-Canning

You think there’s something important in there?” Alice asks.

“It’s locked. Why would he have a locked box?” Eddie shakes the box. “Hear that? Papers. Objects. Secrets.”

Alice contemplates the box. “You think he left it on purpose?” 

Eddie opens a drawer, rummaging for needle-nose pliers. He drags the box away from Alice, then jams the pliers into the lock, twisting and turning. It stubbornly refuses to budge.

Alice exhales in the silence. “What do you think you’ll find?”

Eddie traces the edge of the box with his thumb. “Maybe there’s something for me? There has to be something for me.”

Eddie switches tactics, ramming the pliers into the seam, pumping up and down, trying to force the hinge. Finally, it loosens. Eddie pulls, twisting until it pops.

He rifles through the box. “Our life together. It’s all here.” Eddie picks out a ticket stub. He walks to the cupboard, returning with a lighter and an old pot. He looks at the stub and takes a deep breath. 

The flame is bright as he holds the ticket between his fingers. He lets go, and it floats down to the pot. They sit in silence, watching it burn.

*   *   *

Andrea Watson-Canning (she/her) received her MFA in Dramaturgy from UC San Diego, worked in the theater for a while, and then somehow became a teacher. Her work has been published in The Dillydoun Review, Capsule Stories, and Bright Flash Literary Review. She lives on the gulf side of Florida with her partner, Bill, daughter, Fiona, and some geriatric dogs and cats to keep it interesting.

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