An old cookie tin sat on the top of a bureau in the house where a little girls’ grandparents lived. When the little girl asked her grandma what it was, her grandma took it down, ran her fingers across the top and said “this is my treasure box.”
The remnants of what used to be beautiful painted flowers on the lid, had given way to years of rust and were barely visible.
“What’s in it?” the little girl asked. Her grandma said “that which is known only to me, little one.” She then carefully sat it back on top of the bureau.
On her tenth birthday, the little girls’ grandma handed her the old cookie tin and said “I want you to have this. It will now be your treasure box.”
The little girl took the box and hugged it like it was a brand new doll. She said “what do I keep in it, grandma?” Her grandma said “that which is known only to you and whatever you keep in it, will always be safe.”
The little girl took it to her room and looked around for something to put in it. After a while, an idea came to her.
The little girl grew up and became a young woman. She married and had children. She had what most described as a charmed life but there were cracks forming. Cracks that nobody could see, not even her at first.
The young woman watched as her life slowly started to disintegrate. She watched as the cracks became wider and deeper. She watched as they eventually shattered into pieces that couldn’t be repaired.
The young woman became an old woman and realized that her life had not turned out the way she had always thought it would. It had been full of abuse and neglect and infidelity.
One day, she looked at herself in the mirror. She saw the carvings in her face that had been left by pain and grief. Time had not touched her lightly. Her hair had lost its luster and her eyes were dull and lifeless. Her body had become thin and frail.
As she walked away from the mirror, she remembered the treasure box that she had carefully hidden in the closet. She took it down and ran her fingers across the top. She didn’t open it. She didn’t need to. She remembered what was in it and what she had put in it all those years ago, had not been kept safe.
A few days later, a homeless man was digging through a dumpster and found an old cookie tin. He thought there might be something inside that he could sell for a few dollars. When he opened it, he found only two pieces of paper, yellowed with age, that a child had written words on.
One said Hopes. The other said Dreams.