Thought I would try something a little different today to end this week of writing. I usually keep interesting emails about writing that I think might help me at some point. This comes from the list of writing prompts that Writer’s Digest included in one of their emails in the last two weeks. Thought I would try this particular one and see where it took me. Here’s the prompt:

“You’re cleaning out your garage, and hidden away in a back corner, you find an old shoe box. The box is heavier than it should be. When you open it up, you find cash –$40,000 to be exact. Where did the cash come from, who hid it there and why?”

Financial Windfall

Becky stood up from where she had been cleaning out her mother-in-law’s garage. Stretching, she gazed around at the herculean task that was before her and her husband Chris.   It had been a month since Elizabeth had died, and they had only two more weeks before the bank was coming in to evaluate the house for the prospects of a quick sale.  ‘This is going to take forever,’  she thought to herself. She was distracted by a noise behind her. Turning she saw her two daughters bouncing eagerly from one foot to the other. Becky smiled and spoke to the smaller girl who was holding a bunch of sunflowers in her hand. “What’s going on, Kristin?”

The dark-haired nine-year old held out the flowers. “Mama, these are for you. We found them in a corner of the back yard.” She motioned to her sister. “Isn’t that right, Tracy?”

Brushing her hair out of her face, the twelve-year old nodded in agreement. “We picked them for you and Dad–so you wouldn’t be so sad.”

She hugged the children and kissed the tops of their heads before taking the flowers from Kristin. “Thank you, girls. They are pretty.” Becky smelled them deeply. “How are you doing? I know you must be missing Grandma too.”

A sad look came over Tracy’s face, and she put her arm around Kristin. “We miss Grandma a lot.”  She motioned around the garage. “How long is all this going to take?”

Becky grimaced. “There’s no telling. Your grandma never cleaned this out after your grandpa died, and she didn’t want Dad to do it either. Grandpa saved everything!”  The boxes had been cleared from only one small corner. “It will probably take until next week.” She noticed her daughter staring at the opposite corner. “What are you looking at, Tracy?”

Tracy walked over to the small bicycle she had seen and pulled it out from where it had been wedged between two boxes. “It’s my first bike! I haven’t seen this in years.”  She awkwardly sat on it. “Way too small though.”

The sound of a box falling distracted all of them. “What was that?” asked Kristin.

Her mother looked at the stack of boxes and saw a small one underneath the table. “There’s one of Grandma’s old shoe boxes, but I think you’re the only one that’s small enough to get it.”

Kristin gave them both an impish grin. “Finally, something only I can do.” She crawled underneath the table and shimmied back out with the box. Picking it up, she tried to hand it to her mother. “Mama, this is heavy.” The box dropped out of her hands, and the top fell off beside it. They all stared in astonishment at the box full of cash. “Mama, that’s a lot of money.”

The older woman’s eyes widened. “Yes, it is honey.” She went to the garage door and called out to her husband. “Chris, you need to come in here! We’ve found something you need to know about.”

Moments later, a dark-haired man raced in the garage. “What is it, hon?”  He gazed at what they were all staring at. “Whoa! Where did you find that?”

She pointed to the stack of boxes and the large work table. “Under that. How in the world did it get there, and why didn’t your mother tell us?”

“Ugh, being an executor isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Let’s count it.” The four of them sat down and began counting the bills. About thirty minutes later, Chris put down the last bill and nodded to Becky who was writing down totals in a small notebook. “That’s all of it. How much?”

“$40,000. I still want to know how it got there.”

He sat there deep in thought for a moment before pulling a piece of paper out of his pocket. “So, that’s what Dad meant!”

Rolling her eyes, Becky replied, “I hate it when you do that, Chris. What are you talking about?”

Chris handed her a piece of paper, and she began reading. “Dear Chris, I received my settlement for the accident today. It was suggested that I invest it, but we all know how I feel about banks.” They both softly chuckled as it had been well-known how his father had felt about banks. “I’ve hidden it where no one can find it. Chris, I know I haven’t been the best father. I thought this might provide you and your family some financial security. I love you, Becky, and the girls very much. Love, Dad.”

She looked up to see a few tears falling down her husband’s cheek. Brushing one of them away, she asked, “You okay, hon?”

He took her hand in his and kissed it. “Yeah, just sad that I can’t say thank you. I need to check with the lawyer though. Make sure this wouldn’t be considered part of Mom’s estate.”

“We can do that.”

Kristin, who had been silent up to this point, raised her hand. “Mama, is the money ours?”

“Pretty likely. Did you have a question?”

The girls looked at each other and then back at their parents. “Well, if it is, and we could do something fun with it, could we go to Disney World?”

Their father laughed. “If it is ours, most of it will probably be saved, but I don’t have a problem with a little bit of fun.” Tracy and Kristin started jumping up and down. “What do you think, Becky?”

Becky stood up and motioned for him to stand up, wrapping her arms around him. “I think that would be a fantastic idea!” The four of them danced around the garage, their sadness forgotten as they enjoyed the blessing they had been given.

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