The Music Box by Stan Long

The music box played Edelweiss. I had bought it for my wife on our honeymoon in Piedmont. It sat on her dressing table, a fine Swiss make, inlaid with rare woods and waxed to a high finish. Aimed not to hit her, it missed her head by a few inches, drove through the plaster and was lost in the wall, a shower of bits and pieces still falling to the floor in the wake of its passage. My wife stood there in her nightgown, her face contorted, her body rigid with hate and fear.

She was not going to say I could have killed her, for I had shut her up, which was very gratifying. There, I said to myself, beginning to cool down, there goes our marriage, you who I gave my heart to keep, unable to see I gave you my emotions to keep safe as well.

But she got by it, and so did I. Later I found remnants of the box spread neatly on her table and later still, found the box almost completely reconstructed, she having carefully glued the pieces together. But there would never be music in it again.

However, for decades the hole remained a glaring eyesore in the wall and a vivid reminder of where we had been. One day, after having two kids and with another on the way and the house suddenly becoming too small, I drove a hallway though the wall and into a new, two-bed-room wing, the hole marking my point of entry. It was then that I discovered the windup mechanism to the box - and it still worked.


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