I stood alone in front of the large, packaged box with a Stanley knife in hand ready to release the seasons of my life. Thoughts were all over the place as I cut the bands and slashed the heavy cardboard wrappers. Thoughts from, what was inside, as it had been packed so long ago, to, why did I have it sent at all. I ran my finger across the wooden lid, dull green with surface mildew and saw the rich deep colours of the past come to life.
A dank musty smell wafted into my nostrils making me wonder again if it had been worth it.
Once it had gleamed in the corner of large airy African rooms, eye catching and formidable, cowered in bedrooms, piled high with books or been the central piece in a hallway. It had always been too large for the intended use. But with fitted brass handles on either end, became sturdy enough to move along with me and my baggage, using the term loosely and figuratively you understand.
“Baggage, I expect that’s true, I was no angel.”
Yes and, no stranger either to boxes of another form, emotional boxes, putting life into perspective. Life is destined to run it’s course, dividing one’s time on earth into a series of boxes which all inter-link like a string of pearls or a chain. When one box closes, another always opens to reveal more persons to cling to, apart from those treasured material possessions you tend to drag with you from one box to the other.
Each box has its own set of individuals of which you are always one. Some are special people, often family members you love, others you would rather not admit to, then, there are always the unimportant minions who don’t feature much but affect your life anyway; the postman, the nosy neighbour and even the road rage man in a white van who puts you in a bad mood for the day.
Occasionally boxes will touch each other more than once during a lifetime.
When groups of people from a long forgotten box re-appear bringing back old nightmares or treasured memories. They superimpose on everyday occurrences, insist on reminiscing and even interfere in the smooth running of your new box, your new life. Even habits from the past can come back to haunt you.
We lug possessions, but often too, that one special person we find it hard to be without.
One person, who could have been destined to remain with you.
Having someone around in whose company you are comfortable, who knows just what you are thinking of at a glance, and doesn’t have to talk to you to be company, is good. Someone who understands your moods and how to make you snap out of them, but still loves you, that’s even better. This is the type of familiarity that has the distinct ring of a partner or “a best friend”. But, as fate has it, sometimes they may choose not to move on to the next challenging box with you.
There may be someone else there who is happy to fill the space, but not in such a way, that they could ever change the way you stop dead in your tracks at the unexpected whiff of a certain tobacco or hear the refrain of a particular song. They may ask,
“Where are you?”, but wouldn’t understand if you told them about another lifetime, another box.
The recollections of the mind have a lot to answer for when, periodically you panic as you stare at a photograph, a face, and cannot remember what the hands looked like any more, or the sound of the laughter back then, nor, thankfully, the bad moods; these all remained in that other box. But you can remember so clearly the first time together on the hard wooden floor boards of a new flat; and that late night in a deserted shopping mall, when an uprooted tree was offered as a posy to beg forgiveness……