Upstairs in the girls' room is an old music box. It's round and sloped in, like the bottom eighth of a bell. It has three wooden feet that somehow manage to defy the mathematical axiom that three points define a plane, and it therefore wobbles somewhat. It's mostly steel, somewhat grey and pitted with age now, with a similarly pitted and aged brass lid that has an enameled shield on it with a pink rose. The lid sits on a tiny little bit of wire that sticks up from the rim underneath, and when you lift it, it plays its tune. On the bottom is a little handle that you use to wind it up, which you have to do fairly often as it only plays for about a minute before slowing down and fading out
It used to belong to my grandparents. It sat in their bedroom, on their bureau, where I would play with it as a kid.
I've never been the most sociable person, and even surrounded by people I love I often find myself drifting off into unoccupied rooms for a while, just for a break. So the music box and I got to know each other, because really - what else was there in that room for a small boy to do?
The music box came to me when my grandparents passed away, when Tabitha was just a baby. I kept it in our bedroom, and when she was a little older I would bring it out and wind it up so we could all hear it plink out its song. Tabby liked it, so we kept at it.
When Tabitha was about two, she decided that the song needed words. This was a problem, since I have no idea what this song really is and no way to find any actual words it might have. On the wooden bottom, printed in black, it says "Everbrite A.M." which is marvelously uninformative. You really have to appreciate the artistry of a label that says so little while claiming to provide useful data. This is not easy to do.
So I made up words.
Unfortunately, it was early in the morning when I did this - not my best time even under ideal circumstances, and less so on the kind of short sleep that parents of small children tend to have. This is why all of us now sing, "Go to the bathroom! Sit down on the toilet! Do your business quickly! Someone's waiting in the hall!" whenever we lift the lid.
This makes it rather difficult to get very melancholy and misty with memories when playing the music box, it really does.
I think it's better that way.