The box was relatively small. It was polished the colour of treacle with the most exquisite brass corners and little handles, flush with its sides. The brass name plate was engraved with initials , but the copperplate had been rubbed and caressed into semi-obscurity.
I found it buried at the back of that seemingly ill-used wardrobe in the smallest bedroom, the box room in fact. I don’t think anyone had even ever slept in there. It felt wrong to take it out from its hiding place. What secrets did it hold? I checked to see if it was locked. If it was, I would not dare force it. It was too beautiful. But if it was unlocked? What then? Would I dare to open it?
It wasn’t mine, it was private property. Very private, if it was hidden away. Or was it? Perhaps, it wasn’t private, but disliked, forgotten? That would make it ok, wouldn’t it? Just a little peek then, just to check everything was alright inside it. Though inwardly, I already knew that the mice couldn’t have got in to nest; it was perfect on the outside. A Master carpenter, at the very least, had made this. The lid fitted well and there were no gaps visible, not even near the hinges.
I held it as I realised, that I had been holding my breath. With a deep exhalation, I lifted the lid up. It did not catch and was definitely not locked. It opened easily, almost eagerly. Like a rebuke to time , that had passed too long, since its inside had seen air. It wanted me to see, to look and take it’s contents in.
My eyes widened at its precious treasures. The exquisiteness was not just external.
In fact, the box might be the least precious of all.