by: Rebecca Taylor

I was born in the Four Seasons Antique Shop to my parents Mr. and Mrs. Seasons on a bright sunny day in early June. My parents had been together for twelve years when a light shone down from the sky. They looked at one another and said, “This object symbolizes our dreams and hopes of a future filled with love and family. We will call its name Spring.” This is me, and my antique symbol is a treasure chest. For a long time, I did not comprehend why this represented my personality, but I will tell you more about this later.

First, I would like to tell you about my brothers and sister. The second oldest is my sister Summer, she is symbolized by an a bright amber vase. This makes perfect sense because her heart, like the vase’s opening is always open and willing to explore new possibilities. She may be the one with the hardest job in the family, she is the family confidant, because no matter how busy life or the antique shop becomes, she will always take the time to listen. Even my parents turn to her for advice. My brother Fall, the third child is represented by a hundred year old figurine of an ox. This is because he has amazing inner strength, and keeps going even in the most difficult of circumstances. Winter, the youngest of us four is indicated by an old metal sign that reads, “Where you want to be.” That is completely Winter, of all of us Seasons children, he is the most carefree, the one who has the most friends and is always on the run from one activity to another. Like all families, our sibling personalities sometimes clash, and we have our differences of opinions, but it is certain that once all of the bickering is done, that we will reach middle ground even if we do not agree, we still love each other and will do anything for the others.

When we were old enough to understand how important the antique shop was to our family and what responsibility meant, our parents promised us all that if we met three conditions, we would be guaranteed an inheritance. Our parents would not disclose what it was but said that it would be worth it. The first condition was that we all display an interest in the family business and take turns running it. This is the easiest of the conditions to meet. Secondly, our parents wanted us to each find our own niche within the antique business, one that we would study and specialize in. I became an appraiser, and after apprenticing at several antique shops in the country, began to work fulltime for my parents. The third condition is the one that I had the difficulty with; we all had to find our hidden purpose. For Summer, this was not so difficult as she is a very open personage, and her purpose was to go out into the community and help others. She is amazing, and people find it easy to get to know her. For me, I’ve never had the best people skills, being too shy to shine in the spotlight. I prefer to be behind the scenes. I do okay with the customers because I know what I am talking about, but when I’m out in a crowd I usually clam up for fear of playing the fool.

One day, when it was my turn to be watching the store, a difficult situation confronted me, that put everything my parents wanted for me at jeopardy. They have many desires in life like wanting to be able to bestow each of us children with our inheritance once we have met their conditions and they are certain that we can live up to their expectations. They dream of us all finding the right person to be able to have our own families and hope that they have taught us well enough to be able to do the right things in life. A man and a child entered through the back door of the shop, which is always kept locked. I heard the door and crouched behind a cupboard in fear because the back door is only used as an emergency exit. The man kept walking around the shop, and pointing out items to the little boy, which would not have been unusual had he entered through the front door, but he had not and I did not know what to do. Eventually they left through the back door just as they entered. I did not understand how they got in, they must have picked the lock; which meant they were not law-abiding citizens, but why bring the child, and why not take anything if that had been the purpose. I relocked the back door, but did not say anything to my parents when they returned, because I was ashamed. I had hid. That night, someone took several antiques from the shop, the police were called and no one knew how they had entered the store. I knew, and I could have prevented it, had I alerted someone to what had happened earlier in the day. Detectives searched to see if they could find any evidence but everything pointed nowhere. I could not look my parents in the face, I felt as guilty as if I had stolen the antiques myself. My parents and Fall were busy readying the shop to reopen, it was going to keep going, a break in would not stop the family from persevering. They were cleaning up my mess. Summer knew something was wrong by the way I had been acting, I had withdrawn from my family in their time of need.

“What’s going on?” she asked one day about a week after the break in.

“Nothing,” I answered but I am not a good liar.

“You’re not yourself, I know everyone’s rattled since the robbery, but your family needs you. Tell me why you’re hiding from everyone.”

“It’s all my fault,” I answered looking at the floor in my bedroom where Summer had confronted me.

“How’s it your fault, it happened at night when everyone was sleeping.”

“A man and little boy came in through the back door on the morning of the theft, I was scared and hid. They must have been checking out the place for that night.”

“You have to tell Mom and Dad. Do you remember anything about the man and boy.”

“A bit, but Mom and Dad will never trust me again.”

“If you tell them what happened, tell them you’re sorry, tell them you were afraid. Fear is nothing to be ashamed of. You just should have said something earlier.”

“I can’t, I’m the only one of us who hasn’t figured out their potential, and now I’ve failed everyone.”

“Don’t let the thief win; if you don’t face this, he’s going to make you feel guilty forever. Telling them won’t be easy and they’ll probably be upset, but that’s just the stress of the situation.”

“Will you come with me to tell them?” I asked quietly, feeling guilty, nervous about facing my parents and awkward about asking my little sister to come with me.

Summer agreed to help me face what had happened by accompanying me to talk to my parents. They were angrier than I have ever seen them in my life, and they were sad that I hadn’t owned up to what had happened before. The police were called and I had to help generate a profile of the thief and the child. My heart was pumping so fast I thought I was going to pass out. Detectives came back and asked questions of me, and Summer stood by me telling me it wasn’t my fault, that I wasn’t to blame for what had happened. I managed to pull through it, fighting the desire to run away from home and from all of the problems that I was facing. When I was younger Mother and Father always said the one thing they appreciated about my attitude was my calmness, but  I didn’t feel calm, but felt like I had to project it, so I didn’t worry anyone more than they already had been about everything that had been happening.

“We’ve decided that you still have a lot of learning to do about yourself and what it takes to earn a living and your inheritance, Spring. We are not going to give up on our dreams for you,” said my mother one day a few months after the robbery, even though the thief hadn’t been found, and may never be.

I thought about what they said as I worked around the shop one afternoon, after my mother told me this. Something drew me to the treasure trunk that symbolized my birth. It was glowing, something my parents claimed it had done on the day of my conception. I stopped and I touched it, and suddenly the lock undid itself and the trunk opened. I knew then that I had found my place in the world. I knew that I loved the antique business and the work I did appraising interesting articles but something inside me told me that I needed to let myself live, let myself open up, just like the treasure chest that had opened for me, because I was allowing myself to believe in myself again. Somehow, I began to understand more about life, and vowed to discover more. When I looked in the trunk, it overflowed with hand painted signs, with magical words on them like love, hope, and faith. I started looking through all these powerful expressions, taking them all in knowing that they would help me get a new perspective on life, let me open myself up to the outside world.

I let my newfound perception guide me, I spent more time trying to have fun, I tried to be friendlier around the shop, taking time to talk to more people, and not just figure out how much their stuff was worth. My parents and siblings noticed the change in me as did I and six months after the opening of the treasure trunk, my parents gave me the deed to my sixth of the antique shop. I now was part owner in the family business, I was ecstatic, and knew that I could finally put the doubts I had felt about myself since the robbery, behind me, my parents believed in me. I could let myself live in the future, leaving the bad memories of the past behind and taking only the good ones with me into the present.