“Oh, darling, a strange box was delivered for you today. I had to show my ID when I signed. Were you expecting something?”
“No. That’s weird. Where is it?”
“I left it on the table in the front sitting room. I’m sorry, I totally forgot about that.”
“No worries,” Andrea said. “I’m just going to run down and grab it, okay?”
She retrieved the package and headed back up to the bedroom, where Miranda was washing her face before bed. Sitting on the sofa by the fireplace, she carefully opened the mysterious package.
Tears began to stream down her cheeks as she recognized the familiar smell. She picked up the notecard carefully placed atop the box’s contents.
Andy, Aunt Sophie finally got around to clearing out Granddad’s place. He always wanted you to have this. Sorry it took so long to get to you—had to ship through a licensed collector. Talk soon. Love you, Mom
Andy wiped her eyes as she dug through the packing peanuts and pulled out her granddad’s Flintlock Derringer. She quickly assembled it and closed her eyes. It smelled like him, and like their farm in Texas.
“Darling, what was it?” Miranda asked, coming around to the sofa. “Oh god!”
“It’s my granddad’s Flintlock,” she said, showing Miranda the gun.
“My aunt finally cleaned out my grandparents’ house, and he always wanted me to have this. He used to take me out shooting on the farm when I would visit as a kid,” Andrea explained.
“Andrea, please put that down.”
“Huh?” she said, puzzled. Miranda glared at her and pointed to the table. Andrea carefully set it down. “It’s not loaded. It’s against the law to ship ammunition with a firearm.”
“Andrea, I have never had a firearm in this house,” Miranda said.
“But—this is just a memento, like a picture, but more vivid. We don’t even have shells for it.”
“Andrea, I will not waver on this.”
“Are you seriously making me choose between you and this memory of my granddad?”
Miranda sighed and put her head in her hands. “No. No, I’m not trying to say— I get that it’s a memory, and that you cherish it. You’ve spoken of your granddad, and I would have loved to have met him. But Andrea, the girls are still young. There are enough people who go in and out of this house—I just can’t take that risk.”
“Does it bother you that I’ve shot it before? That my family’s idea of fun is going out to the back fence of the farm and shooting haystacks?”
“No, darling. In the proper—nonviolent—setting, I don’t have a problem. It’s just, in my house…”
Andrea picked up the gun, disarmed it, and set it back in the shipping container. “Okay,” she said, turning and taking Miranda’s hands.
“Darling, I’m sorry, I overreacted. I know your family is important to you,” Miranda said as she pulled her wife in for a hug. “I could look into getting a sort of secure display case installed in the study if you want.”
Andrea turned in her arms. “You would do that?”
“Oh Miranda, I love you so much,” she said.
“But for the present time, let’s put it in the safe in the closet. Tomorrow, we can take it to the safety deposit box at the bank until we have something installed. Will that work?”
“Yes, it’s perfect.”