by Ana LLena
The Box is about the courage required by love, at it's end or it's beginning.
The cat had taken to sitting on it.
It wasn’t enough that it was the first thing I saw when I opened the door each day, but now it had “eyes”- wondering and daring at the same time- would today be the day I moved it?
Surely it had become as much a fixture there as the little blue rug, or the mostly brass umbrella stand with it’s lone occupant or the coat hook above it, where the robe replaced the coat in the exchange that marked the end of a day or the start of the next.
I thought about moving it-even before the cat’s residency, if just out of consideration for Marta, poor old thing. In the beginning she would move it imperceptibly to clean beneath it. But no more, as if it has become heavier even to her. It remains on the 5th white square straight, 3rd black square to the right- all the steps I could manage when I came home to find it left with the post.
Had it been bigger perhaps I would have torn into it, joyous at the thought of its contents. It was too short to be the old Chinese Fisherman lamp-clearly it would have been marked “FRAGILE” too, since it was cracked when first prized as the find of the day after the 4th yard sale. Not heavy enough to be ancient Tango LPs- it would have been marked “FRAGILE” right? Or maybe there was no need for such a warning or plea as “Handle with Care” when it was already broken inside.
Is that why I left it these last 12 days? Ten days past the sureness of knowing, seven beyond wondering and five since insouciance settled in as the cat made the only move.
Not that I didn’t examine it, claro, I looked at it long and close. The neat, tight script of many years with the nuns, the lack of hesitation as an address known as well as your name fills the “From:” and one just as confidently filled the “To:”.
But the only message delivered was what was needed for delivery.
No clues, no hints, no xoxo nor p.s., and why should there be after all that was said?
After ten years of knowing and not needing convention, nor normalcy, trappings or co-dependant musings?
Aloof and assured, sustained by the heady fact of honesty, like hunger, the need was paramount and the waning of it a natural phase expected and understood or said nonchalantly, proudly, to the envy of those not “free” like we were- then. And now the box.
Contents imagined daily, one torn soccer jersey, countless Christmas ties, the once a year Heart boxers, the missing slipper from the left-side? What else not needed here or there?
“Enough”, said the solid leap to the floor- at least feed the cat, close the door, replace the robe with the coat, move on- down the hall-or not.
No, I think I’ll just pull off the label, this bit of clear packing tape giving in a long, sticky release of the seam, and the flap peeling back without preamble of tissue or bubble wrap, just the sudden flow to my nose, yes, beyond the brown, paper cardboard smell is, her?
Her. Her favorite pale, past yellow gown, running shorts, and knitted hat, and sleeping scarf and silk eyeshade and neat, tight script on plain white card- “Bringing the rest in 15 days.”