She’d seen that crack on the wall for years and had never thought much about it. But now that her dad was in the hospital and she couldn’t sleep, she needed a distraction.
Her dad had taught her that nothing in the world was as big as someone’s imagination. For all she knew, a chest filled with treasure was waiting for her behind that wall. She wouldn’t rest until she found it.
Lizzie Trueman was born to the best parents in the world. Her mom was a history professor at the local university, and her dad was an accomplished novelist.
So it goes without saying that Lizzie grew up with the best stories a kid can imagine. By six, she knew all the popular fairy tales and stories. But it didn’t stop there.
Her dad often told her fantastic stories about pirates, treasure hunters, and hidden caches. At her tender age, Lizzie knew the Peter Pan movies in and out, from songs to character lines.
Such content had been the basis of her and her dad’s bonding since she was old enough to talk, and as far as she was concerned, it was heaven on earth. But one day, disaster would strike.
Lizzie was about to turn seven when her mom broke the news that her dad would be spending the next few months in the hospital. She explained that he was a little under the weather, and the doctors wanted to ensure he’d wholly recovered before coming home.
But unknown to Lizzie, her dad had a heart attack that almost claimed his life, thrusting him into a coma. For Lizzie, life would never be the same.
The first night without her dad wasn’t that hard for little Lizzie. Her dad usually spent days away from home promoting his work, and she was used to it. He’d always bring her pretty gifts from the places he visited.
But that week would be different. Lizzie knew it was severe when she found her mom crying in her room the following day. She’d wanted to ask about the crack in her room’s wall, but what she saw wizened her insides.
Although Lizzie was too young to understand what her mom was going through, she was old enough to know when someone was sad and needed comfort.
She joined her mom in bed and kept her company throughout the day. But the wall caught her attention again as she returned to her room after dinner. She’d never thought much about it, but now it seemed to call out to her.
Lizzie couldn’t sleep that night. She kept thinking about her dad until her mind strayed to the crack in the wall. She’d asked her mom about the crack before, which her mom answered was just that, a crack.
But now, Lizzie needed anything to help her not worry about her dad, and the crack would do just that. She hopped out of bed and went to check it out. She had no clue the kind of secrets the tiny crack held.
A kid with the wildest imagination in the world, Lizzie saw herself as a treasure hunter setting out to find the biggest haul in the history of treasures. Making sure she didn’t wake her mom up, she switched on her lamp and hurried to the wall.
After a few minutes of assessment, she hurried to her heap of toys and books and returned with a pencil. She used it to dig into the drywall. What came out made her freeze in place.
Lizzie’s mom entered the room to find her daughter standing before a gaping hole in the wall beside her bed. She’d heard movement in her daughter’s room and came running.
Lizzie explained what she was doing, and seeing the stemmed tears in her eyes, her mom told her to stop. But what she did next left Lizzie speechless.
Lizzie’s mom peeled out the wall plaster around the hall and dug in, fishing out a tattered sheet of paper. She presented it to her daughter, informing her that the paper was a map of their house.
Overwhelming excitement washed over the six-year-old, and she hugged her mom tightly. She’d always wanted to treasure hunt and had been doing just that when she disturbed the crack. The map had transformed her dream into a reality.
Lizzie and her mom studied the map, concluding that whatever it led to was hidden somewhere in the house. They began setting up for their hunt immediately. Lizzie’s mom fixed them some late-night snacks, and they set to work.
The map led the two on a scavenger hunt all over the house. Lizzie’s grandma, who had only arrived that evening, joined in. But even with the extra hands, it wouldn’t be an easy task.
After four hours of moving up and down their house, tipping over furniture to read hidden clues, and listening to old music to pinpoint key lyrics as instructed by the map, the three of them finally reached their destination.
Lizzie looked around as she realized they were back in her room. The clues they’d gathered through the night pinpointed the opposite wall from where she found the map. She looked up at her mom and grandma, smiling even though she wished her dad was there with them.
“Let me help you,” Lizzie’s mom said as she went to the wall with a flat screwdriver. She chipped the drywall for a few minutes until it revealed a tiny door, which she promptly opened.
She produced a dusty jewelry box from the small room and handed it to her daughter. “Open it,” she said with a proud smile and took out her phone to record the moment. What they’d find would leave them in tears.
In the jewelry box were a set of weathered wooden cards. They told a story of a little princess whose imagination allowed her to conquer the entire galaxy. She’d chosen Lizzie’s world as her resting place after her adventures.
There were several jewelry pieces in the box, which the cards claimed were the princess’s most valued possessions. Would Lizzie be open to accepting them as a gift from the girl?
Lizzie read the story, again and again, her heart swelling with joy each time she held the wooden cards. Even though her mom didn’t tell her then, her dad had made up the treasure hunt, installing it in the house well before Lizzie was born.
Of course, he recovered and returned to his family. But even though his daughter barraged him with the details of the best treasure hunt she’d taken part in, he never revealed that he’s the one who devised it. He was only glad it’d helped her survive the days without him.