Dad hands me a brushed silver Zippo lighter, says it was from a friend of his. He no longer wants to keep it in the house. It’s engraved ‘MEANWHILE’ on the lid and TO DICK on the case. Dad’s name is Richard, but some people call him Dick.
He doesn’t say who it’s from, but he alludes that his third wife might not be happy if she found it. It’s still in the box, unused. I accept the lighter and become his accomplice.
I have a tendency to keep objects that remind me of loved ones, so I add it to the menagerie in the drawer full of Things That Don’t Have a Home.
Zippo manufactured the lighter in 1980. Dad and his third wife were in Vegas in 1978, I have a dated photo. In 1979, I stayed one summer at their home in NC. I cannot puzzle out the story behind the engraved lighter and who gifted it to him.
And now the people who could have explained are gone.
I’ve moved households 10 times since the mid-80s and the lighter made the cut with every sweep of a junk drawer.
It lives there and reveals nothing about what might have been.
This is the 21st story in the Objects as Waypoints Writing Project series.