It had been nearly two years since she had last laid eyes on the contents of her safe deposit box, according to the signature card at the bank.
Hard to believe so much time had passed.
Her reason for today’s visit was mostly sentimental; her grandmother’s birthday was in a week or so. As she always did around this time of year, she began missing her grandmother terribly, and on a whim decided she wanted to wear the ring that had been left to her in her grandmother’s will, the ring that had been safely tucked away in her safe deposit box for entirely too long.
Ed, the grandfatherly gentleman who had worked at this very desk since her earliest memories of coming to the bank as a child with her father, escorted her into the bank vault, turned his key, and left her alone to sort through her memories.
She wondered if Ed could see the anxiety behind her eyes in spite of her best efforts to appear calm and collected. It was always intimidating to her, this bank vault; row after row of metal boxes, always cool and eerily silent, creepy to her even before…
She wondered at the content of the other hundreds of metal boxes, what sort of people had hidden their treasures inside, and if any of them would suspect on their own visits to the bank that the little box on the third row up from the floor contained what it did.
She opened her box and with trembling hands slowly pulled out the metal drawer inside and sighed with relief when she saw that all was exactly as she had left it.
Perhaps she had read too many crime novels, but never could quite shake the paranoia that her little safe deposit box would be accessed by the wrong people and her secrets fall into the wrong hands. Oh, it all looked harmless enough; that little stack of insurance papers, savings bonds and whatnot, stacked inside. All things of no value to anyone but herself. Underneath the stack of papers was a little cloth bag; she carefully removed her grandmother’s beloved ring and placed it on her right hand. The ring always made her happy and sad and familiar tears welled up in her eyes.
But it wasn’t the sole reason she came to the bank today. It had been a while, and she had to check… had to know.
She slowly reached beneath the stack of papers and felt toward the back of the box, and there it was. She sighed for the second time when her fingers closed around it.
It was a small plastic flash drive.
A flash drive that she had paid thousands to a computer forensics expert to obtain.
Contents which, should they be revealed, would destroy a man.
Though she had wanted to, and been sorely tempted on many an occasion to do so, it was never in her best interest to release all that she knew.
He would lose his job.
He would lose his family.
He would lose any credibility he had, but it would be worse than that.
He had shown that there was no limit to the depths to which he was willing to sink; the the evil of which he was capable.
She would suffer greatly should her information become known, of that she was certain.
She was afraid.
And so there it remained: safely hidden inside her tiny bank box there at the bank.
She sat quietly as he had mocked and ridiculed her and lied about her. She held her tongue while he stole from her. She smiled when he did everything in his power to destroy her while he arrogantly crowed about his victory.
He was the master of leading a double life: Sunday School teacher by day, an expensive habit of strip clubs and prostitutes by night.
It was all on the flash drive; all the text messages he had sent to these prostitutes from his phone, all evidence of what he had done and where he had been, right there on the hard drive of her computer, because he’d been sloppy and careless enough to sync his phone with her computer.
And now it was all on this flash drive. She had played dumb and pretended she didn’t see, and he, in his arrogance, had taken advantage of her perceived ignorance. But the truth was all there.
There was more, criminal activity even. The evidence on this flash drive pointed toward crimes committed that would effectively end life as he knew it, but to release this information would jeopardize her own future as well.
Oh, he thought he had won… but that was because he didn’t know about the flash drive.
It wasn’t the only copy.
In her paranoia, she had made other copies; one to her attorney, another hidden with a trusted confidante, with explicit instructions from her that nothing was to be done with this information.
She replaced the contents of the safe deposit box, slid the drawer back into place, and locked the door.
Her anxiety was gone, replaced with a peace that one of these days, in due time, all that was hidden would be revealed, and she smiled.
For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was anything kept secret, but that it should come into the open… Mark 4:22