In the dimness of the dusk, she heard silence for the first time that day. She eased into her chair, but felt a bump in her rear pocket as she sat.
Danielle slid her keys from her pants and let them rest in the palm of her hand. She flipped them over and over, focusing on each trinket in turn.
The house key
Probably the least-used item in her hand. Living in a rural area, entry was almost always through the garage. Nothing was within walking distance--at least nothing far enough away that it would require locking the door. Besides, living on a busy road (for a rural area, anyway) made walking down the street somewhat dangerous for her and her young brood.
Yet, she would never leave home without the house key. Too many times the power had been out, making the garage door opener nonfunctional. The one time she had left the house key at home--to head to a conference with some friends--she was stuck outside for a good twenty minutes waiting for her family to return from a lunch out. Since she was getting a ride to the gathering, there had been no reason to take her car keys. The house key, she'd learned that day, was another matter.
The keyless remote for the minivan
She chuckled. It had stopped working months ago. She had to depend on putting the actual key in the actual lock now, and if she wanted to open the slider, she had to (gasp) open it. She'd looked into getting it repaired, but the cost was more than the benefit was worth. Why it was still on her ring was another question. She still occasionally tried using it--when the load and the company were especially heavy--in the hopes that the "keyless remote repair fairy" had waved her wand while Danielle was otherwise occupied. She hadn't shown up yet, but Danielle was hopeful. There was always tomorrow.
Their library card
She and the family loved heading to the local library. It didn't happen as much during the school year, but over the summer it was definitely a weekly occurrence. There was nothing the kids liked more than picking out a new book to read, and sometimes even a video.
They had a nice little children's area where the kids didn't have to be completely silent (Whatever happened to the "shushes" of the libraries of her day? Good riddance, she thought). The best part, of course, was checking out books. It was so much easier to use the key ring card than the one that was inside her wallet. There was always something of a minor battle over who got to swipe the card, and who got to check out first. There were certainly worse things they could be fighting about.
She loved that the schools were including the key chain pictures in the picture day packets now. It gave her a chance to eyeball her son, with his typical "I know everything" seven-year-old look, with ease. The picture always made her smile. She knew she'd be getting one from Andrea's school soon. Of course, there was a space on the key ring ready for it, next to her brother's.
The shed key
Her husband called it his shed, but Danielle knew it was more than that. Sure, many of the things locked inside were gardening related, and that was mainly his department. Yet, it was also where the "off season" outdoor toys were stored.
The kids always brightened up when she unlocked and opened its doors. Bicycles and sand toys and such were sure to appear in spring, and summer would bring out the play sprinklers, Slip 'n Slide, and plastic wading pool. Even the toboggan was stored in there for wintertime fun.
Her favorite Mother's Day gift ever
Danielle closed her eyes, sighed, and grinned. The beautiful key chain she had received the previous May from her husband always reminded her of how blessed she was. Attached to a heart-shaped ring were two beautiful dangles. On one were crystals and charms, along with letter beads spelling out her firstborn's name. The second was similar, though the charm was different, and the letters spelled out the name of her youngest. A lovely ornament, like the giver and the children it brought to mind.
Danielle enclosed the entire key ring within her palms and smiled. Her treasure was in her hands.
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