A Man, a Boy and a Box
When Timmy opened his eyes he noticed the house was very quiet.“It’s late” he whispered “Everyone is sleeping” “Come on” he beckoned as he kicked off the blankets “Follow me!”
Who is he talking to I wondered? “YOU silly!” Timmy said responding to my thoughts “You are writing this story aren’t you?” Not waiting for an answer he slid his feet to the floor. The board he landed on protested with a loud crack and he clasped his hands over his mouth as if that would silence it. As he stood motionless my head filled with confusion and questions but I held the quiet and said nothing.
Finally Timmy’s hands settled back to his sides and I heard myself whisper “How is it I am part of a story that I myself am writing?”
Timmy glanced at me again then back at his bedroom door “Looks like I didn’t wake anybody, let’s go!”
The floorboard breathed a sigh of relief as pressure was released from it but the sound was slight and I doubted could be heard beyond the bedroom. “You didn’t answer my question” I asked still whispering for no apparent reason “How is it that I as writer am in this story?” Timmy pointed under his bed “The answer” he said “Is in the shoe-box”
Then I remembered when I first read this writing challenge prompt about what might be in the shoe-box and how so many ideas came to mind that I couldn’t choose, too many options. I couldn’t lock-in on one and the month was slipping by. Then this morning my character Timmy spoke to me “You don’t know what is in the box because I haven’t shown you yet” Of course I though! There was my answer and I began to write.
Timmy was lying on his belly now and began wiggling his way under the bed. Soon just the legs of his Spiderman pajamas and feet were showing. “Got it!” he said and slid back out again, shoe-box in hand. He stood up, straightened his pj’s and placed the box on the bed. A pajama matching Spiderman night-lite showed bright in his smiling eyes.
The Florsheim Shoe was printed on the cover and on the side of the box it’s original contents were describes as Imperial Wingtips, size 10 1/2 E. Timmy put his hands on the lid paused and looked at me “Are you ready?” “Yes” I replied still not knowing what I was about to see.
Timmy moved his hands away from the box and sat down on the side of the bed. He looked down for a moment then raised his head, looked at me and I could see the smile was gone. “I could show you what is in the box but really YOU need to show me” Seeing the puzzled look on my face he continued “I have been with you since the day you were born. I knew you had the soul of a writer and I got this shoe-box and waited for the wonderful stories I knew were in you to fill it with” He reached over and lifted the lid. I could see the box was empty.
The facade that was the bedroom melted away to only darkness, the boy and the box.
“I am the little boy inside you that you have let your life push aside, your imagination, your muse. You have left me here alone with an empty shoe-box and nothing to read. I have missed the many fantastic and great adventures I expected from your works that have never appeared. The shoe-box remained empty”
The words rang in my ears “I am sorry” I heard myself say in a choked voice “I let you and myself down and I am turning sixty soon. I guess it’s too late for me, for us now”
“No, it is not to late” Timmy said “I still believe in you, in us. I spoke to you today and for the first time you heard me. There is time to fill this box and many more like it or I would no longer be here.”
I paused to consider Timmy’s words and felt a renewed confidence growing within me “Thank-you for reaching out to me today”
“Thank-you!” Timmy said excitedly as he reached in the box and found a page there. He pulled it out and started to read the first story.