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In the house where I grew up,
there was a wall safe in the closet of my bedroom.
We didn’t know the combination,
but we knew there was an extraordinary, exotic treasure inside,
forgotten and left by previous owners.

We took turns holding our ears to the wall
as we turned the dial ever so slowly,
listening for clicks just like we’d seen in the movies.
We knew what to do.

Gold, silver, diamonds, rubies, emeralds,
maybe silver dollars too many to count,
maybe a treasure map, the beginning of a scavenger hunt,
one thing leading to another, clue after clue after clue.

What will you do with your share? we asked each other.
Go to Egypt to see the pyramids. Go to China.
Buy a dozen horses. Fly to the moon. Buy a convertible.
Go on an archeological dig in South America.
Buy the ancient library in Alexandria.
Just like we’d seen in National Geographic.
We knew what to do.

We dreamed and imagined, our ears pressed to the wall.
Click, click, click. Weeks passed, months passed, years passed.
I left for college. And one day got the call.
After weeks and months and years, one day the safe opened.
Too bad, so sad.

Endless possibilities