My Music Box
Tools line the walls; cabinets are filled to the brim bursting with paints, stains, and other supplies. The air smells of sawdust and varnish. This is Grandpa’s workshop.
Friday. We start with a trip to the store for a musical movement. We look up and down the aisles studying each movement with care. Grandpa and I are there for an hour. We’re about to give up when he sees it. The waltz that he and Grandma danced on wedding: Moon River. I didn’t want to get it but he plays the seniority card and wins because he says he’s the one who’s paying.
Saturday: I wake up early not wanting to waste a minute working with grandpa on the music box. When mom drops me off at Grandpa’s, I bolt out of the car and head toward the shop. We work on the base and sides of the box. Soon Grandpa takes over doing most of the work himself. I thought this is my project. I wait patiently for a few minutes. I guess not. “Grandpa I thought we were working on the music box together,” I say
“Oh right, sorry,” he says and hands me a pencil to help him mark the wood.
At the end of the day we’re covered in sawdust but we’ve finished the sides.
Sunday. We attach the music movement to the bottom and put the sides and bottom together. There’s just one problem: someone cut one of the sides lopsided. Oops my bad. Grandpa says it’s no problem and we just cut a new side out. By the end of the day we have everything but the top put together. I can’t wait to see what it looks like finished. I beg Grandpa to let me stay late and finish putting the top together. But he says I have school tomorrow and we can finish next weekend. So I reluctantly hug him goodbye; how can I survive five more days without working on my music box?
But next weekend never came. Grandpa died. All I want to do is crawl up in a ball and stay like that forever. I can’t do that though. What would Grandpa say if he saw me like this? He would say that no matter how much it hurts, I have to move on with my life and not dwell on the past or I would miss the present. After the funeral, we go back to Grandma’s house for lunch. I run through the door, heading straight for the workshop. With each step I take, my heart beats faster. I swing the doors open wide and flip on the lights. Where’s my music box? I begin to search franticly. What happened to it, where did it go? Then I see something tucked way to the back of the work bench: a square package wrapped in brown paper with a note attached. I pick up the note and see my name on the front written in Grandpa’s spidery cursive.
I hope you don’t mind, but I finished the music box for you as a surprise. Enjoy!
Tears fall on the note as I read. I grab the package and rip off the paper and see my music box. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. It’s small enough to hold in one hand and the color of dark honey or amber; it’s so glossy it appears to give off a light of its own. I turn it over examining every part. When I flip it over, I see a message on the bottom. Live long, laugh often, and love much. Love always, Grandpa. I begin to tear up. I turn the key and wind up the music box. My fingers are shaking as I begin to open the lid. When I do my ears are flooded with the music and I instantly begin to think of all the good times Grandpa and I had over the years.