When I was a little kid I lived with my grandpa. He was one of those sugar sweet grandparents who'd always give you want you wanted. Although I never asked for much. The most I asked for growing up was lunch money and a ride to school. But on my birthday he'd shower me with gifts I wanted since the beginning of the year.
I found it a bit strange, he knew what I wanted yet I never told him. In fact I told him not to get me anything. I began to wonder if he'd peek in on me while I was looking at things I wanted. Well I only say this now because today is my birthday. I turn 19 today and I was wondering since I spent the last year in college, does he still know? I wondered, as I opened the door. If he does he must have asked my friends or something along the lines of that.
I walked into the first door and hugged my two grand Aunts.
"Oh David! You've gotten so tall!" they said. "He's so handsome too. I bet the girls line up against the block for you."
I laughed and I looked down.
"Compared to all my friends I'm actually kind of short. And I don't have a girlfriend," I said.
They continued to compliment me and I smiled.
"Hey did you know where my grandpa is?" I asked anxiously.
My Aunt Rosa said, "He's up in his room, tell him to come down here."
My Aunt Betty followed with, "He needs to help me use my phone."
I laughed and I told her I'd help her.
"Thank you David," she said as she handed me the phone. It was one of those 2006 phones, it was way out dated but I surprisingly remembered how to use it.
"Okay so just press the photo button to get the pictures," I said. They both looked at me with confusion. "My phone can get pictures." I laughed and took a picture of them. They saw and were over joyed.
During this I heard foot steps coming from upstairs, the door behind me opened and I saw my grandpa. I hugged him tightly and smiled. "Hey," I said. He didn't say anything but he directed me to outside. We walked outside. I was a bit confused. I knew he had something on his mind but I just couldn't put my finger on what.
"David, I think you're old enough. My Father gave this to me when I was your age but," he stopped.
"I couldn't have giving this to your mother. She was too brash."
"She wouldn't have understood why I gave it to her. Your sister's the same way, she would probably have thrown it away," he said. "I've been wanting to give this to you for a while. You aren't the boy you used to be."
"You grew up didn't you? You're not the same as you once were? Well, I know you want to forget about the past but I won't let you, the reason you are the way you are is because of your past. You should be proud, you've came so far." He handed me the box and I proceeded to open it.
There was another box inside of the box. It looked like a jewelry box. I tried to open it and he slapped it out of my hands. It fell on the floor with not even a scratch and I looked at my grandfather in confusion. "Don't ever open this box!" he yelled. I was shaken up at this moment. I looked at my car and tried to find my keys in my pocket.
"Listen, there's a reason behind this rule and you'll see why if you open it."
I was a little more confused now. He stared at the box and I picked it up and decided I should probably go home now. I was used to not having a big celebration so it was fine with me to just come to say hi and leave. Come to think of it they never even so much as said happy birthday to me. I sighed and I drove home.
After I got home I put the box on my dresser and I looked at the time is was about 9:20. I wasn't tired enough to sleep and all my friends we're out of town. I looked at the box as it seemed to light up the room. I really wanted to see what was inside that my grandpa didn't want me to see. I picked up the box and shook it a little. I felt like a little kid who found a Christmas present a few days before Christmas.
I didn't wanna break it of course, so I only did it once or twice. But shaking it wasn't really enough. I just wanted to open it and see what was in there. Part of me thought it could be a family secret that I don't even want to know about. Another part of me thought maybe nothing was in there at all and the whole point of the gift is that Grandpa gave me a symbol for what he really meant.
This struggle to open the box or not to open the box went on for about a month before I finally decided. I kept the box hidden so none of my roommates saw it and tried to open it. I kept it in a compartment under my desk, I also kept money in there too.
So one day in class I left a little earlier than usual, and I walked to my dorm. I walked through the empty halls with this terrible feeling in my spine. I felt like someone was watching me. I felt like Grandpa was watching me. I felt my heart beat louder and louder with each step. I kept on looking behind me to see if someone was there. The halls were fully empty not even the janitors were there.
My heart beat faster every second. And I heard a voice behind me saying, "I know what you're going to do." I jumped and looked behind me in every possible direction, yet no one was there. My was heart racing and I just lost it. I began running through the halls of my dorm just wishing someone was here. I felt like yelling.
I had never felt so alone in my life. I had forgotten fully about the box. All I wanted to do now was to break down and cry. I just wanted to find one single person. I finally was at my door. Incidentally, I didn't even know I was going in that direction.
I opened the door and the only thing I could think of was opening that damn box. I just wanted to be over and done with it. I walked slowly to the box, almost like I was afraid of it. I was at my desk and I opened the compartment with it inside. And there was a note on top of it that said, "Don't even think about it."
I automatically knew grandpa put that there. "How the fuck did he know about this! He's never even set foot in my dorm before!" I said out loud. I held the box tightly with in my hands, reached its lock and began to open it. Suddenly I heard the phone ringing.
It was my older sister. I picked up the phone and she was crying.
"Mary? Mary, are you okay? What happened?" I asked, worriedly.
"David, Grandpa's is dead!" I looked at the box and dropped it.
"What!?! That's impossible. He had to have....."
I stopped. Mary continued to cry and I offered to come get her. She said no. I put the box back where it was and sat down on the couch. I looked at the note he left. I wondered when he would have time to write this and I threw it on the floor. And then I realized he wrote on the back as well.
"I guess I owe you an explanation, don't I? Well this box has something inside of it but it's always different for everyone. What this box is, is a gateway into your past and future. I wanted to tell you right then and there but I was afraid you'd think I had just gone senile.
"It's better you know now. I'm probably sitting next to you as you read this. But listen, one reason why I don't want you opening this is because when I was your age all I did was use the box. Once you use it once you can't stop, you'll forget about your life, your job and your friends. And eventually the future you'll see will only be you looking into the box, trying to change your past.
"I tried getting rid of this box but I just couldn't. I needed it after a while. I had the power to change anything that happened. And after you came into my life, I constantly used the box to protect you. If you got bullied on one day, I'd keep you home from school. If you were supposed to get hurt one day, I'd tell you to stay in bed.
"I've tired to protect you so much after I saw what your fate would have been if I hadn't gotten involved. I just wanted to say that, David, I love you. I know you might not have understood everything I did growing up, but now I hope you know how much I cared for you. Please don't use the box, just protect it with your life. And David please clean your dorm, it's worse than your room at home."
I held the box tightly and put it back in my desk.
"I promise I'll never use it," I whispered.
And in the mist I heard a faint voice saying, "I'm so proud of you."