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At first the small luggage padlock thwarted her, until she realized she had a key to the lock in her vanity drawer. Retrieving the key, she raised the lid. She didn't realize his scent would still be present. The sudden rush of memories and emotion nearly knocked her over. Holding onto the tall post of the bed, she spotted the side chair in the corner. He had always left his ties draped over the back of the chair. She teased him about it, and eventually he would put them away. Now, there were no ties. She pulled the chair up to the bedside and sat down to begin unpacking.
She lifted out a stack of shirts and gently laid them on the bedspread. Next was the socks and underwear, rolled tightly and tucked in the middle. Then she started to lift the stack of pants, when she felt something unusual. A small red box was hidden between the layers. At first she thought it was one last gift for her, but it was months until Christmas, her birthday had already passed, and their anniversary was three months ago. Then she realized that he couldn't have been bringing it home to her, since he never reached his destination. It couldn't be a forgotten gift from another trip, as it was too carefully hidden between his clothes. Was he taking it to someone else?
She pulled the lid off the box cautiously. Inside was a smaller hinged box, the kind you get a ring or earrings in from the jeweler. The box was navy blue, and there were no markings on the outside to indicate where it came from. She paused. Did she really want to see what was inside? Why was her husband taking jewelry with him on his business trip? Was he having an affair with a coworker? Finally she raised the lid.
Instead of answers, she had even more questions now and no way to get answers. The box was empty.