Keys

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I opened the door, Finley stood in the hall till I called her in. It had smelled so strongly, even after all these years of his cologne, and his natural smell. It was so strange, it stung, bad. I asked her to look for a story book of some sort, she started helping me.

“Ah,” I pulled down the hard cover book of nursery rhymes. “Let’s get out of here.” She nodded and we went to my living room. I opened it up, and an envelope fell out. I sucked in a breath and read aloud.

“Harry,” my eyes scanned the card. “We read this book every night when you were a kid,” I couldn’t keep reading aloud. It was too personal, I knew Finely didn’t mind.

I remember all the time you’d ask for another story and another. The next day you’d run around, pretending to be the knight in shining armor. Son, I don’t want you to lose that because I’m gone. I loved that you had this incredible spark when you were young, even without a mom you seemed so happy. You always found the good in the world, the magic, you’d draw it, and you’d feel it. I was so jealous of you; I wish I hadn’t ever grown up, because I lost that magic. Don’t grow up, don’t’ lose that. I want you to be passionate, and not make the same mistakes I did by giving one woman all the power to make or break you. I shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t have drank either, something you may not have known about me.

I cleared my throat, “Let’s get on track, you’re closer. Here’s your next clue. Fluttering, flying and flitting so free, from flower to flower is where you’ll find me?”

Fin though, unsure. “Flower to flower, a bee?”

I thought too. “Butterfly,”

“Significance?” I nodded. “Do you want to go now, or would you like to sit and… process whatever was in that envelope?”

“A bit of both,” I pulled her closer to me, finding comfort in her arms. She just held me, gently combing through my hair at the nape of my neck as I rested on her chest. I took a breath, trying to understand why my dad was doing this. Why couldn’t he have been open, and just tell me what he hid?

We stayed still for a few hours, and then we took a drive out to the Grove. She held my hand quietly as we walked through the fields; she was good about not pushing me. We went to a spot that always had butterflies. I sat on a rock, she sat on my lap.

“You used to come here?” she asked.

“All the time. We’d come out here and just… run. I had this lab, named Max, my aunt made me get rid of him, but we’d take him up here we’d throw the ball around for him, or sticks. We’d just… he just let me explore. My dad would watch as I played with nothing, just imagine everything that was happening. We’d bring nets and catch butterflies or jars for fireflies; he’d always make me let them go.”

“He sounds like a wonderful dad,” she said quietly.

“I’m not sure about any of that, I’m not over what he did, he left me with nothing.”

“You’ll learn who he is, one day, all of him.”

“I hoped you’re right. Let’s find that clue?”

“What are we looking for?” she got off my lap and we started roaming the fields.

“I have no idea if I’m being honest,” I was trying to think of what we used to do out here. I went up to the trees, and found it. “Fin,”

“You carved your name into a tree?” she smiled.

“I tried,” I laughed at my pathetic attempt. I reached into the trunk of the tree, where a hole was. I shook out a plastic wrapped envelope, protected from the rain and anything else that happened over the years.

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