Ever since I was a child, I have always been enchanted by music boxes. Though I now have some idea of how they work mechanically, I’ve tried to remain selectively ignorant to avoid demystification—I still want to believe in magical music boxes.
When I was really young I was given the music box pictured above. When I opened the small drawer, the clown would dance to music—what song I cannot recall. There was always something almost-frightening about it. Clowns are frightening after all.
I always felt as though the dancing clown had magical powers. I wondered why he danced. I sometimes thought I heard the music box playing at night mysteriously. I would wonder, while a school, if the clown was dancing to music, or if he was sleeping, waiting for me—and only me—to command him to dance.
Years have passed. The music box makes no more sound. In the drawer sits a diamond-studded key given to me by a girl who used to love me. The clown has long-since danced his final dance. Now he just stands there. But is he dead? Or is he as alive and vibrant as any memory?