Monday, March 17, 2014

Happiness in a Box (Fiction)



"Do you need anything?" she asks.

"Sure," I say into the receiver, "how about a box full of happiness?"

"We may be out of that," she responds dryly, "how about some kombucha or broth?"

"Sure," I say, "I'll reimburse you."

"I'm not worried about it," she replies, "I still have about half-an-hour of work to do, but I can be there by 4:30."

"Okay, I'll see you when you get here...thanks!" I choke hoarsely, hanging up the phone.

-

I watch her through the picture window coming up the grey sidewalk, her angular frame silhouetted against the greying five o'clock sky, a thumb hooked through the amber glass handle of a gallon jug of the kombucha soda I've developed a taste for.

My mouth waters.

-

"Here, I found this," she says, curling into a corner of the couch and pushing a small, silver box across the cushion towards me, "I thought it looked like you."

It is a silver-leafed cardboard box about the size of a box of assorted chocolates, the lid hinged by a thin strip of silver paper and two delicate burgundy ribbons, and she has written the words:  "We went here, bitch people" across the lid with a skinny green permanent marker.

"What does this mean?" I ask, gesturing to the viridescent, familiar scrawl of her left hand.

"I don't know," she answers, "I think I had too much coffee.  It seemed funny at the time.  I thought you'd get it."

"Do you get it?" I ask, raising an eyebrow, furrowing my forehead.

"I said I don't know what it means.  It just struck me as humorous - at the time," she replies, defending herself, lighting a joint she's fished out of her new, taupe Bottega Veneta handbag.

"Cool...thanks," I say, "I can put weed in it."

"Whatever," she croaks under her breath, exhaling.

"You wanna...make out or something?" I ask, unsuccessfully trying to not sound overly eager.

"You have a cold," she says, leering at me through the smoke, sounding vaguely disapproving.

"Well...my snot's been pretty much clear since this morning," I say, selling it.

"In spite of that enlightening information, Charles, I find that, for some reason unknown to me, I remain greatly disinclined towards the idea - thanks though..." she says, smiling a really good fake smile, stubbing out her spent roach.

-

After she has gone, I turn the box over in my hands, feeling its smooth, silvery surface against my fingertips, surprised now by how heavy it feels.  Opening it again, I discover its interior to be lit by a soft, peachy glow that I do not remember from my first exploration of the box.  It begins to feel warm and the warmth radiates through my fingers and into my palms and at the same time, a deep blanket of warmth begins to rise up in my chest and I feel something heavy and leaden break and fall away from my heart - like the leg irons of a captive bound for slavery.  

"What the..." I mumble.

I cannot fully understand, but I am filled with love.  




-date of writing:  November 11, 2013

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