It wasn’t a large box, as far as boxes go.
A lockbox. Sturdy. Impervious to flames. The kind of box you trust to protect the things you deem important.
My sister and I were sitting in the back of the van going through my dad’s box. We were looking for… I don’t know, clues? Treasure? Answers to questions we stopped asking a long time ago.
You see my father passed away last Friday. Yes, almost five weeks to the day after my Mom. I know, unbelievable.
My sister had found the box in his apartment and now we were going through it. The bulk of its content were tax returns and W2’s going back to 1960. One thing was clear; my Dad waged a fifty-year war with the IRS.
Among a litany of correspondence was a letter in 1996 stating that “No, I do not owe you $78.16 from 1983 and even if I did I have not intention of ever paying it.” The Federal Government knew they had met their match and eventually gave up their thirteen-year quest.
We also found my parent’s marriage certificate, a report card or two, a playbill chronicling my dad’s high school musical career, Christmas poems written by my sister and I… and a telegram.
It seems that during one of my family’s many moves across North and South Carolina my parents were separated for some amount of time. My Dad was in a new town living in a hotel and lonely. He sent her a telegram. He wanted to tell her he was having a hard time finding us a place to live and he wondered if there had been any movement on selling our house, but more than anything he wanted to say that he missed her.
And he couldn’t wait… “to get back to his brown eyed girl.”
The Doctor’s will say that my father died of liver failure and kidney failure and sepsis, but I think the truth is that once my Mom died he found himself with no reason to go on. Not without his brown eyed girl.