The Chest

The Chest

I could never understand her fascination with old things. She had fancy names for useless items such as antique or heirloom. I preferred to think of them as old pieces of shit. It didn’t matter though, because whatever made Erin happy also made me happy. Her smile was worth the endless hours at garage sales and pointless eBay bidding wars. I didn’t even bother to bat an eye at the décor shift of our bedroom. At least not until a rather large and old looking chest occupied the former home of my sleek and minimalist IKEA dresser.
“Erin?” I began, puzzled by this monstrosity that obviously wouldn’t be accommodating my 42” flat panel. “What happened to my dresser?”
“Oh isn’t it great?” she responded not even bothering to come out of the bathroom.
“Well it’s certainly different. Where’d my TV go? Don’t tell me my clothes are in that thing.”
Erin leaned out of the bathroom with her robe barely making it to her shoulders. She was toweling her hair with mischievous eyes, and suddenly I knew I had no hope of being upset, much less protesting the new addition.
“Easy Ben. Your clothes are still in that boring dresser. It’s just down the hall in your study. And I had the TV installed on the wall in the basement. Thought it would help complete your man cave.” She began to saunter over towards me with the smile of an excitable child as she pulled a tarnished key out of the pocket of her robe. “I was waiting for you to get home to open it. It is a survivor of a fire in this grand hotel in Istanbul. Isn’t it great? It’s a relic from Turkey during the First World War. It was there when my Great Grandmother was. I only paid…”
“Don’t. I don’t even want to know.”
“Well ok then, let’s see what’s inside. It’s been hard to wait for you to get home. I’m really excited about this piece. I feel like it has such history and a great story.”
Piece, that was another favored word of hers to describe a recent overpayment for used up rubbish. Erin squeezed between me and the chest backing into me with her body. Her lush raven hair smelled of intoxicating honey vanilla something or other and I couldn’t help sinking my face gently into it. My smile growing as she delicately guided the key into the time worn hole. I placed a hand on hers as she turned the key. The lock unlatched with a clumsy thunk, and Erin pulled the doors apart. A warm earthy smell wafted out and over us.
“Oh…” Erin stammered. The opened doors revealed five separate shelves equally spaced apart. On the middle shelf sat an antique ring. Erin stood motionless staring at the piece of jewelry. The setting was antique, but the Princess cut diamond was new. I reached around her and picked up the ring.
“You know it took some serious doing to get to this,” I began to explain. “Your Great Grandmother was a bit of a roaming soul after that war. With some help from your mother I found this. It is the same setting your Great Grandfather got her before he left to fight in that war. The diamond was rather small and I figured I could add something to it. This here chest was in the hotel he proposed to her in. I bought it awhile back and put it up on that antiques site you love. I knew you wouldn’t be able to resist and I wasn’t going to sell to anybody but you. ”
Erin turned to me with the biggest smile I’d ever seen and I knew all my work was worth it. She balanced on her toes and gave me a big kiss bustling with excitement.
“You went through all that trouble?! Oh my gosh you’re the best Ben!” she was nearly squealing. “You’re the best husband in the history of the world!”
I enveloped her in my arms looking at the left door of the chest that still hung open. There was a fresh inscription on the inside that I was going to let her discover later. It read:
Of all the history in the world, ours will always be my favorite. Happy Tenth Anniversary. I love you. -Ben


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