I cannot find this box and it’s driving me mad. I had a box, a shoe box and I need it. There were pictures and bits of places I’d been and things I knew I would need later. It’s been 3 years and 18 days since I last opened the box. At first glance, the ordinary look of the contents almost completely masks the truth. It’s a treasure box. I placed the shells and the red rock in the center of my hand. I ran my finger over the perfect little shells last time but felt nothing. Something bigger than a feeling washed over me each time I knew I had found something that needed saving in the box–it was so strong and I knew in life, moments like that were rare.
Had this been a box I had started five years ago, I would not be so concerned about the pictures. All my pictures now are digital and even if my computer fell in a bathtub like it did once– don’t ask, the pictures would be everywhere. I can’t get away from some pictures now. Nothing disappears anymore–my recent life lives in the clouds with everyone else’s. I’m happy the box isn’t in the clouds. It has no business being in the clouds but it has no business being lost either. I don’t need it to remember. I want it to feel. I long for it to take me to a precise point in time and leave me there long enough to feel it again.
It’s rumored that the box is in a storage shed this very moment. My love told me so. I think he thinks I’ll forget about it and his assurances that it’s not lost will put my mind at ease until I forget I need it. We moved last year and some of our things are still at our old house. I think I lose it on purpose because I get so happy when I find it. If it was just there I could pull it out anytime– I don’t want that either.
Among the shells I always come across a spinning pod at the end of a lilac tentacle that was looking to be the last place I would be seen alive. I hated the rides and one of my eyes felt like it was going to pop out of my head. I wanted to let go of the bar supposedly locked in place to keep me in as the spinning went on and on. There was a good foot of empty space between the bar and me and I was skinny back then. I felt like I was going to slide right out. I’d have to take the chance that I would be a one eyed creature if I made it off the ride. I could not let go of the bar, not even to try to comfort my eye and convince it to stay put.
How did I end up on the octo nightmare? I had decided that I was going to do the opposite of what I would normally do. My choices hadn’t been great and as I reverse engineered each disaster, I would have been just fine if I had done the exact opposite of what my gut told me to do. My gut would have never allowed me to get on the octopus spinner. Now my gut was giving my eye competition in the race to exit their permanent residence. My gut was in the lead. The cotton candy blurred past my good eye and as I pressed my chin to my neck, I saw that my shorts were the final resting place of the festively colored snow cone. An old snapshot taken just before I braved the octo spinner is in there. I have my arms around two friends– the three of us with our long black hair and youth that felt like it would last forever.
A traumatic experience can sear a lasting memory. It has also been known to evict the memory to a corner of the mind that is out of reach. I have a wonderful memory. I can recall details from so far back, it’s possible it extends to a time before my spirit entered the current body it resides in. There are other recollections that visit me before they have come to pass. I can remember without the box but it serves another purpose.