Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Box

Last Saturday, the postman tried to deliver a box to me. He didn't try had enough and left a card for me to collect it from the main post depot, in Bracknell. Since I have been riding the bus, it's very hard to make it back to Bracknell early enough to get to this post depot before it closes, at 5:30PM. The only way to do it is by leaving work fifteen minutes early. On Sunday, the post office is closed. Monday was no good, as I needed to go to London, for the Kanye West concert. Yesterday, I worked half of my lunch break, so I could leave early, and I managed to get to the depot in time.
I have been waiting for a package from my mother, for about two weeks. As that is the only package I was expecting, I was very excited that it had finally arrived. When the man working the counter brought me the box, it was the right shape and size to be the box I am expecting from my mother. Waves of joy wash over me as I walk with my box, back to the bus stop. I have about ten minutes to wait till the next bus arrives. Sitting on the bench in the bus shelter, I look over the box in my hands. The brown wrapping paper looks like a type I only ever see in Britain, rather than the kind commonly used in America. I start turning the box over in my hands, looking for a return address. At first, I don't see any. Then, I spot a small bit of writing. It's a post code. A British post code. It wasn't sent by my mother.
I am devastated. The post code looked familiar. It occurs to me that this box was sent by my close, personal friend, in the Midlands. The last time I visited her, I left a jacket and a shirt there, as well as a gift she got me. I said I would get them the next time we saw each other, when I couldn't fit them in my luggage. I was limited by traveling by bus, as to what I could carry. A few weeks had gone by and she'd sent the stuff to me, by post. There was no way the sender would have known that I happened to be expecting a package from my mother, nor that receiving another package, now, would cause me to feel so badly. Although I don't blame her, I still feel very down. It's amazing how suddenly a mood can change. One moment I am thrilled, because I think my mother's package has arrived. The next moment, it feels like my world has come crashing down.
It was a gray day, rainy and cold, as I sat in the bus shelter. It feels more like November, than it does August. I had to clutch this disappointing box, all the way home. How could a box cause so much bad feeling? The first thing is that if this box isn't from my mother, then where is the one she should have sent me? I began to worry that my mother's health had taken a turn for the worse. While that was the most significant concern, there is the further disappointment that I don't have the item that I asked my mother to send me. Add to this the significance of the box I did get. If my close, personal friend is sending me my things via post, it means she doesn't expect to see me again. I had called her about ten days after my last visit. After leaving a couple of messages which weren't returned, I received an email from her, saying she was having some "me time." My next planned visit, was cancelled. Now she's sent me my things.
When I get home, I put the box in my room. I was in no hurry to open it. After all, I know what's inside. Nothing new. I spend several hours downstairs, watching TV with Nando and having my dinner. My mood remains gray. Later, when I returned upstairs, I make an attempt to open the box. The paper has been taped so well, along the seams, that my fingers can't get any purchase. No matter what I try, I can't get the paper open. In frustration, I put the box aside. It seems to gloat at me, like some evil, demented, possessed thing. I manage to go to sleep, leaving the box for another day.
At work, today, I notice that several of the staff seem in a foul mood. The old, Italian chef, Pino, snapped at me, which is unheard of. Chef Anthony and Jum started bickering. What was wrong with everyone? Could it be the box? That box! It's like a singularity of evil, drawing everyone's good feelings into itself, like some emotional, black hole. The weather was foul, again. When I got home, I found an email in my inbox, saying that I didn't get this job I had recently applied for. I seem to have nothing but bad news, since the box came into my life. I still haven't been able to bring myself to open it. It's sitting there now, staring at me. Gloating. Will we ever be free of it's evil effects?

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