Monday, March 21, 2016

Cedar Chest

Today's muse: Based on a true story

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Cedar Chest

I was given a handmade cedar-lined, walnut hope chest by my first husband.

It was enormous and weighed about one hundred and twenty pounds.

I kept if for many years after our divorce, but there came a time when I no longer needed it. More important, I no longer wanted it.

When I remarried and moved into a new home, I decided to rid myself of the chest—start fresh. I thought about selling it, but it had a few battle scars and I didn’t think anyone would want to pay money for it. More than anything else, I just wanted to get rid of it. So my husband and I put this beast into a borrowed van and brought it to Goodwill.

We carried it inside the store and before we even set it on the floor, four women surrounded us and started asking questions.

When I told them it was handmade, they asked by who. I don’t know what made me blurt it out, but I said: “My Ex.”

There was a lot of tongue-clucking and a few muttered “bastard”, at which point, my husband edged away.

It was a busy Saturday morning and a steady stream of customers entered the store. Each one stopped to admire the chest, stroked the smooth finish.

For about fifteen minutes, I stood with several strangers, all of them women, circled around a wooden box that my ex-husband had made. They said kind words about his workmanship, and cussed his obvious lack of style to let such a wonderful woman leave his life.

I had walked into Goodwill with a heavy weight, but walked out feeling lighter than I had in years.

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