Music Box Dancer

by Miles Rost

(For my Dad, Harlan. A wonderful man who knows good music, and does good things! I love you, Dad.)

Sandy couldn’t remember a time when she wasn’t without something important from her childhood.

30 years old, living on her own in an apartment in a fancier area of Portland, and she still held the teddy bear that she received from her dad when she was 3. She loved that teddy bear with everything she had. It was her best friend when she was young, a protector from the monsters in the closet and under the bed. It was her companion when she was rejected by boys in junior high school, and embarrassingly enough, her practice doll in anticipation of her first kiss.

The teddy bear was squeezed in front of her. Sandy’s chin rested on top of it’s head, as she looked around her room. She carefully studied all of the items on the shelves of her room, neatly places all over the room. She looked at a small box on the top shelf, and mused a little bit. She took in down and put it on the desk.

She opened the box, and a small ballerina popped up. The music that played started up, and she just smiled at the sounds of the little charm piano that played in the bottom of the box. She remembered back to a time when she received the box, when her dad returned from a trip to Zurich. He had gone for two weeks, spending his time negotiating business deals involving metals and parts. He returned home after two weeks, and smiled.

“Daddy!” little Sandy cried, as she ran up to him and put her arms around his leg.

“Hey there, Sunny,” he said, using his pet name for her, “Let me get sat down and I’ll show you something very neat!”

She smiled, as she ran into the living room at the speed of a normal 9 year old. She got his pipe and his slippers ready for him, so he could relax.

He walked into the living room, and carried along a big paper bag with handles, something new at the time. She asked him what was in the bag.

“This is a present for you. It’s something special that I think you will love.”

He gave her the okay, and she pulled the wrapped gift out of the bag. It was large, and somewhat heavy for a 5 year old. But, like a trooper, she handled the gold wrapped package and put it on the couch, where she promptly tore the paper open. She opened the latch on the front, and pulled up on the lid.

The familiar sounds of the music box dancer jumped Sandy back to the present day, and a small tear rolled down her face.

“Dad, we’re gonna listen to this again,” she said, as she put the music box into a paper bag. And as she got in her car, to go to the nursing home where her dad was staying due to his Alzheimer’s, she thought about the music. It lifted her spirits as she drove, and kept the box open while she drove.

“Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.”

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