Inspirational Sad Happy

Along with the fortune I inherited through my father's death, I got a key to an old storage locker that my father had seemed so keen on keeping secretive and hidden. I remember him being so proud of buying it. I was around twelve or so then, which is insane because it has already been ten years since that day. I don't think my father intended to have to give my sister and me the key so soon, but it's not like getting mixed up with the mafia doesn't have its dangers.

That stupid, stupid man. Why did he have to take out a loan from one of the most well-known mob bosses in the city? And why didn't he pay the man back? How was my father so stupid to have put himself and his family in danger? That idiotic asshole.

At my father's funeral, my aunt gave me the key, telling me that my father wanted me to have it. I knew immediately that it was to the storage unit, but at the time, I couldn't think of why he would want me to have a musty, old storage unit. For a few weeks after that, I wondered if I should even see what was inside.

And now I am standing in front of the storage unit, the key in my balled-up hand. The sun is just barely peeking over the mountains, cloaking the land in a brilliant light. Birds sing and tweet and cars drive on a highway just a few blocks away. My sister, Anaca, stands next to me, staring at the garage door.

"What do you think is in there?" she asks, glancing over at me.

"I don't care," I answer. "Whatever is in here doesn't matter, because we didn't matter to father."

"Come one, Andrew," my sister says. "You know that father loved us."

"Yeah, well, he had a pretty shitty way of showing it," I answer, walking forward.

"What's that supposed to mean?" she asks, walking up to the garage door as well.

"Doesn't it piss you off to think about how he repaid our unending love for him? He put us in so, so much danger just by talking to the mob boss. If that doesn't make you question his love for us, then I don't know what will," I say, inserting the key into the keyhole. Anaca falls silent, obviously seeing my point.

I get the key to fit in the hole and then twist it around until the storage unit door clicks and opens up. Billows of dust and dirt immediately blast my face, causing me to hack and cough.

"What the hell?" I mutter, entering the dark storage unit. I turn on the flashlight on my phone, aiming the light around the shadowy room. Boxes upon boxes are scattered across the room, climbing to the top of the room. A few boxes in the middle of it all catch my eye, though, and I walk over to them. I illuminate the items with the light.

The picture is of me, my mom, and my sister all sitting on the couch, melted popsicles in our hands. The gooey popsicles cover our faces. My lips are blue from the popsicle, and Anaca's lips are purple. My dad stands behind us, a smile on his face. I immediately remember this. In the summer of 09', dad had insisted on making these horrible popsicles and freezing them himself. Just the thought of those popsicles makes my heart ache for them, along with father. No, he could've gotten you and your family killed. He didn't love you, my brain says, snapping me out of the trance.

"Aw, I remember that," Anaca says, peering over my shoulder. I look up at her and then drop the picture back into the box.

"Yeah," I say, walking over to one of the other boxes. I pick up the item at the top of it, confused. Soon after, I realize what it is. During my senior year, I had been given the keys to this disgusting, paint-peeling car that had been passed through my family. I ended up crashing it into a lampost the second day of having it, but instead of getting rid of the keys, my father had taken them.

"So this is where they ended up," I say, grinning just a little bit.

"We should go through all of the boxes," my sister says. "You know, memory lane?"

"Okay," I agree, sitting down.

Though I don't necessarily like it, Anaca and I stay in the storage locker for a few hours, going through all of the boxes. It's crazy to think that so many small trinkets and toys have such big memories. For example, one of the things I find in the third box is a Thomas the Train toy, which I used to push around for hours, listening to the little song that played when the wheels started rolling.

We go through the many, many boxes, sharing laughs and cries, all the while items surround us. I am flipping through the pages of a book I found in one of the boxes when Anaca suddenly calls my name.

"What is it?" I ask, still thumbing through the pages.

"A note from dad is at the bottom of the box," Anaca says, looking at the envelope. I crawl over, confused. She hands me the note, pointing to the name at the bottom of the envelope. Anaca's name sits in the middle, but in the bottom left corner of the envelope is Father's name. I glance at the other boxes and then back down at the note.

"Check the other boxes," I say, scorching over to one of the boxes. I dig through all of the pictures, toys, and books until I find an envelope with mom's name on it. I hand the envelope to Anaca and then grab one of the boxes that were open when we arrived. I dig through yet another box full of toys, army men, and pictures to find an envelope at the bottom of it. My name is scrawled on it in big, bold letters. I tear open the envelope, making a note fall out. I grab the note and start reading.

Dear Andrew,

If you are reading this, then I am dead. Am I correct to assume that I was killed by the mafia? If this is the case, then you probably hate me. You have always been one to care about fairness and the happiness of others, often pushing away your own. And I know that what I did was unfair. I put you, Anaca, and your mother in danger. That is something that I cannot fix. You will probably always hate me, too, which is another thing I can't fix. Though, something I can do is hope that you understand how much I truly do love you. I know it doesn't seem that way, but I will love you more than you will ever know. That's why I borrowed money from the mafia. I managed to evade them long enough to store the money in storage units which can be opened with the key in this letter. I know you have always wanted to go to college, and now, you can.


Your Old Pops


I stare down at the letter, and before I can stop it, tears stream down my face. I search the envelope a bit more and find the keys, which have a few keys dangling from the chain. Anaca begins reading her own letter, tears springing from her eyes as well.

I look at all of the items scattered on the ground, and my tears begin to fall more heavily. I grab Mother's letter and stuff it in my pocket, putting everything back in the boxes. Tears splatter the ground, and sobs fill the afternoon air. I know that the keys are amazing, but I can't help but feel like the picture of me and my family eating popsicles and the Thomas the Train toy are more important than any amount of money. Because these items show that my father really did love me, which was something I had questioned for a long, long while. And now . . . I had an answer.

"I love you too, dad."

The End.

February 11, 2023 03:20

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Valerie Church
12:59 Feb 23, 2023

This is a lovely story, picturing one of the million ways in which love can manifest itself. However, from what I read about short story writing, you must pare it down to an unbelievable minimum of words. So I suggest that the story would read better if it were told as starkly as you can. Delete as much as possible! I'll give you an example of what I mean. I have rewritten a paragraph. At my father's funeral, my aunt gave me a key, saying that he had wanted me to have it. I knew immediately that it was to the storage u...


Isaac Walker
19:55 Feb 23, 2023

Thank you so much for the feedback! In my next stories, I will definitely keep this in mind. Again, thank you!


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Rabab Zaidi
14:39 Feb 18, 2023

Very interesting ! Loved the ending !


Isaac Walker
15:03 Feb 22, 2023

Thank you so much for the support! I tried my best with this submission.


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