Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for Xerox Box

I wasn't paying attention,  If I had been paying attention, I would've left it where it was.  But I was talking to you, rambling like an idiot, and I got distracted.

"Spring cleaning is such a lovely concept and such a shitty actual practice," I complained.

"Yeah well, a lot of things are great in theory," you said.

"Like this- what the hell is this, even?  What would possess me to shove a random office box in the back of my closet with no label that might give me even the slightest clue as to what's inside?" I said, pulling it out without even thinking.

"Well, if you can't remember what you were thinking, I certainly can't," you laughed.

Then I opened up the box and the world stopped.

"I uh... I gotta go," I told you, my brain struggling to form the words.

"You ok?" you asked.  You could hear it in my voice.  You must have.

"Yeah, yeah- I just uh.... this is a two-handed operation, you know?" I lied.  

"Ok, well don't work too hard," you said.  I could hear the concern in your voice, the warning.  But I was already gone.

I gave you a superficial farewell and hung up.  I heard my phone clatter to the floor, I didn't even put it down.  My hands were in the box puling out memories before I could think better of it.

After so many years of keeping her hidden, there she was.  Our entire time together in a box in the back of my closet, just waiting for me to open it and fall apart.

A picture of her smiling as she rode me piggy back, the light still bright in her eyes at that point.  Her and Sam and Chris and me all doing bunny rabbit ears to each other as we stood on the sidewalk in the fair.  That stupid elephant I won for her that night cause Sam was a shitty throw.  The necklace we got in that stupid novelty store- the FF of the BFF heart halves she said we had to get because it would be a novel thing to do.  Her favorite hoodie- still torn up and stained with her blood.

I sank back and looked over the contents of the box.  That stupid box that I'd shoved everything into after the accident so there wouldn't be any remnants of her to weaken me.  Cause I had to be strong.  Cause you weren't.

I should've gone through it.  Waiting all these years hadn't made it any easier to see, and waiting another decade wasn't going to help.  But I'd been keeping it together all this time on an idea.  The idea that I was the strong one, I was the rock.  And rocks don't crumble over old photographs and junk.

So I shoved the lid back on and pushed it back into the corner of the closet and closed the door.  Let the dust have it, I figured.  I've got cleaning to do.


  1. Great X choice. The story ended up somewhere completely unexpected from such a mundane starting object.

  2. Surprised the narrator would keep the hoodie from the accident. Worth giving to the dust, certainly.

    Typo? I think a 'But' is missing its 'B' in the first paragraph.

  3. Oh, that was intense and surprising! I liked how shoving the items back in the box was analogous to keeping her grief locked away. Really well done!

  4. Ah, the Pandora's box in a Xerox suit. Great story and use of the letter X!

  5. Very nice X word. I feel bad that these days very few people are using the copy machine. Mostly it is the printer.


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