I found an old silver key while cleaning my closet floor. I’ve been on a “get rid of it all” spree lately, especially since twenty-nine years at the college means accumulating crap beyond measure. Still, sometimes the small things stop me and take my mind on some time-loop ride.
Like this key. For years it must have escaped my glance, fallen perhaps from pants pockets or a winter coat. I can’t recall losing a key or changing locks. And anyway, it doesn’t resemble any key that I know of for the college.
Maybe it opens some old house I once lived in. Or our first apartment when we moved to the area and I started working here. That place was small but filled with potential. We’d sit for hours and talk about our yet-to-be-born son. It was on the second story near a river, and we loved the shade from the pine just off the porch and how it protected us from the mid-day heat. Still, I think this key is older. Maybe my old farm house in Pennsylvania I rented while working in Hershey where the only sound outside were cows and the occasional car. I remember once I came home to an entrance of new plants and flowers for my birthday. The plants outlasted my stay there.
No. it’s old so more likely my first house in New England where the door stuck in winter when the frame froze. I’d spend hours shoveling my steps and those of the old woman across the street who delivered mail. She brought apple pie for my efforts, or would leave one for me with Sam at the Deacon’s Bench Antique Store next to the small shack of the post office. But that key was gold and I gave them to my friends who moved right in when I moved out. If I did keep that key I never would have lost it, never.
Now I think this one some souvenir from my childhood home on Church Road, the two-story colonial where I owned my first house key though I never needed it since after playing ball or riding bikes all day along the Great South Bay or through Timber Point Golf Club, I’d run through the back door full stride and laugh the way childhood makes you laugh for no reason at all. I can see myself keeping that key, moving on with some small remnant to make me feel like I could go back if I wanted.
But no, I can’t recall now what this silver key might be for, though I’ll keep it; resist the urge to throw it away as evidence shows I clearly resisted before.
Of course. After all, it still opens doors to places I never thought I’d go again.