Author's Note: I wanted to do more with this concept, but I was kind of afraid to. I mean, I hate crying, and going any deeper than this would've caused some tears to fall, so...this is all you get! And yes, keys really can make me cry. Maybe I'll get more detailed about that someday, but for now, just enjoy this pitiful piece of writing!
"Have you found it yet?" my mother called from upstairs.
"No," I answered as I yanked open yet another drawer. Old manuals, random Christmas cards, the odd battery or six, but no phonebook. I sighed and shut the drawer.
Why the hell was our living room so freaking unorganized?
"Well, hurry up! They're going to close soon!"
I rolled my eyes, annoyed, and moved to the end table across the room. We hadn't touched this particular drawer for a while, but that didn't mean anything. My mom had a tendency to shove things in the drawers closest to her.
I kneeled before the table and opened the drawer without a thought. Golf balls, pencils, pens, more manuals...I pushed a few papers aside to dig deeper into the compartment and my hand hit something cold. The soft sound the object made told me what it was.
My breath caught as I realized this. This drawer had been my dad's before he'd passed away a little over a year and a half ago. These were his. Most of the things in this drawer were.
Slowly, my fingers closed around the keys, and I pulled them out from beneath a booklet about the computer we'd gotten years ago, just barely breathing. The quiet jingle that accompanied the movement was enough to make tears well up in my eyes.
There were a dozen keys attached to the ring. I recognized only the house key and the keys to my mom's car and my dad's truck. The others had always been a mystery to me. They probably had something to do with the cemetery, though. He'd worked there for longer than my seventeen years of life and had gotten quite a few things from it. The keys were still hanging from the same clip he'd used for a while before his death. He'd always hooked it to the same belt loop everyday...
I gave them a little shake and listened to the clinking noises, barely noticing as a single tear slipped from my eye and rolled down my cheek.
I remembered this sound so well...
Whenever we'd go to a store, whether it was Lowe's or Kroger, he'd be wearing those keys. Every step brought that same sound. I remembered shopping with him, walking through my school with him, heading into the garage at the cemetery with him...and always, there were those keys.
I remembered well how he'd come home from work at 4:45, and I'd know it was him because of the sound of those damned keys. I'd look up from the computer as he'd walk in from the kitchen, his bald head shining and a smile on his face.
A second tear fell, and more followed.
It was amazing how many memories could be attached to such a small thing.
"Find it?" my mom asked. I heard her beginning to come down the stairs, so I quickly tucked the keys away in their old drawer and tried to wipe away my tears. They just wouldn't stop coming...
I had my long hair hiding my face by the time my mother could see me. My voice was light and steady as I said, "Nope. I don't know where it is."
"I'll check the kitchen." She walked away without noticing a thing.
My eyes found the keys again, the image blurred by my tears. Slowly, almost reluctantly, I pushed the drawer shut, watching as those keys gradually disappeared, fading like the man they'd belonged to.
Then, they were gone.
Gone, but not forgotten.