Unexpected Treasures

Unexpected Treasures

mag·net  (m g n t)
n.
 
  1. An object that is surrounded by a magnetic field and that has the property, either natural or induced, of attracting iron or steel.
  2. An electromagnet.
  3. A person, a place, an object, or a situation that exerts attraction.

I found a Hide-A-Key today on the back side of my wrought-iron gate. The black rectangular box, exerting its attraction to an alloy, blended in with its surroundings. I thought about the magnetic field adhering to the iron post, how it hugs the metal as if it was inseparable, clinging to each other, afraid to let go.  

My discovery of the box yielded an excitement equal to finding a hundred-dollar bill stuffed in an old dresser drawer or spotting a corked bottle floating to shore with a message typed neatly and sealed inside. It was like digging up a buried treasure in my flower bed or finding a thank-you note from my late husband that says, “Terry, Thanks for being there. I love you, Michael,” which I happened to discover two weeks ago on a shelf in the bedroom closet. I didn’t remember when I received the note or why my husband wrote it. It was a bit of a mystery, but also a reminder of our attraction and devotion to one another. 

 The black case I found today was a small treasure. I discovered it while repairing the mesh around the bottom of the gate so that the dog wouldn’t be able to escape when she saw a cat prowling the property. I opened the sliding mechanism on the back of the box, wondering what I might find. I didn’t think it would be the key to our outside gate because we had one on the patio side of the yard. Inside I found a small brown bag with the hardware store name and logo printed across the top, looking brand-new, folded neatly in fourths. I opened it slowly, wanting to preserve the crispness of the bag and discovered a small, shiny silver key. I thought it might fit the keyhole in our mailbox, but it didn’t. I then proceeded to try the key on the outside garage lock. It fit into the keyhole and with a slight turn of my fingers, the closed garage door began to open. Like a sleuth, I thought about when my husband bought the extra key and why he neglected to tell me. I wondered why it was never used and if he forgot about it when his health declined. I slid the key in between my forefinger and thumb, rubbing it as if it was magic, able to grant one’s desires. Then I began to wave it in front of me and silently ask for my wishes to come true. This shiny silver key suddenly transformed my day, not because I had a way into the house in case I locked myself out, but because I found a piece of Michael’s heart eight months after his death and in a place where I least expected it.

I know he thought of me when he bought the Hide-A-Key. I know he thought of me when he placed it next to the iron and the magnetic force caused the gate and box to become one. I know he thought of my safety when he became ill and knew he could not take care of me in the same way he used to. This unexpected find brought about a resurrection of our love story, of the man I married. There was something magical about the experience, something calming, and something reaffirming about two people attracted to one another, weakened only by an illness that destabilized the magnetic field that had once bound them for so many years.

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About TRatner

Terry Ratner is a freelance writer, registered nurse, and writing instructor in Phoenix, Arizona. In June of 2004, she graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction from Antioch University, Los Angeles. Writing has always served a purpose in her life, but it wasn't until her son died in a motorcycle accident in March, 1999, that she began to publish her works. What's unique about Terry is the way she balances the life of a nurse with the life of a writer. "Nursing allows me to give back to the community and then write about those experiences." Ratner teaches creative writing in a variety of settings from community colleges to a school for homeless children (Thomas J. Pappas) to wellness communities throughout the Valley of the Sun. In 2004, Terry launched an Arts and Healing program for children undergoing dialysis at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center. She has published numerous personal essays, cover stories, interviews, and book reviews for a variety of national and regional publications. Her manuscript, a work in progress, features a series of twelve essays, ten of which are introduced with black and white photos, dealing with issues of family and identity.
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3 Responses to Unexpected Treasures

  1. Aimee says:

    Beautiful and touching!

  2. Barry Schulman says:

    Beautifully written. Terry you have a great gift for painting word pictures. Sometimes it is amazing how a simple thing can awaken such deep feelings. Michael was a very lucky guy.

  3. Norma Taylor-Roderique says:

    Again….a beautiful tribute to Michael. Thank you for sharing. I hope you are wearing that gorgeous dress you once wrote about and having a little fun.

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