A Wooden Box

Memories brought back by the simple things in life that make it worthwhile

The polished wooden box had colours that shimmered in the sunlight to look like a tortoise shell. It was inlaid with gold and pearl lining the edges and bejewelled subtly with glistening gems. I flicked open the delicate golden catch and ceremoniously lifted the lid.

                Inside are my dearest treasures.

                There was a silk purse embroidered with thin silver thread that was filled to the brim with old coins, foreign coins and pressed pennies; tokens from all the exotic places I have visited over the years of my long existence.

Also, there was a small, old comb with most of the teeth missing, given to me long ago by him when I was still human.

Next to that was an enamel turtle with a tiny tail that turned, and played a tinny tune that somewhat resembled a lullaby composed for me by him.

A rubber duck was nestled amongst old cinema and theatre tickets and written conversations on random bits of paper, lying beside photographs from when the camera had just been invented, to print outs off the computer and taken with the newest of digital technology.

The duck was from a memorable visit to the bath factory just outside of Johannesburg, stolen from the tour because the car had broken down and we had had six hours to kill hence the bath factory trip.

The napkin ring was from the inspiration for my lullaby, collected by him during our first proper meal together in a posh restaurant when he finally had the money to take me somewhere. The first actual meal was a Chinese take-away. I still had the menu from the place - it closed down years ago.

A broken quill and a baseball with most of the stitching coming undone joined these useless objects.

A pack of battered playing cards lay beside a velvet box so worn that most of the texture had been loved off. The box was tiny, an inconsequential thing containing the most valuable of my prized possessions; a diamond ring. It was an old thing, the face was circular with one large, glittering stone in the middle and surrounded snugly with tiny blue ones, all balancing delicately on a narrow, gold band that hugged the finger, my finger especially.

                I could hardly bear to look upon it anymore – it was too painful – but I wouldn’t even consider parting with it.

                There, underneath all the “junk” was a thick, leather-bound tome with yellowing pages that would keep falling out if it hadn’t been re-stuck 30 years earlier. I carefully raised it out of the nest it had made for itself and untied the thin leather straps. I hooked my finger under the chain around my neck and pulled it free of my shirt to reveal the key that hung there, made of a metal that matched the lock. I lifted the chain over my head and took hold of the key firmly in my hand. I took a deep breath and inserted it into the lock, twisting it purposely to the left until it relented with a satisfying click. I took another deep breath before I pushed aside the stiff leather fastening and opened the book.

                Tears trickled down my cheeks as I took in, for the first time in many years, the achingly familiar curves and flourishes of the spidery calligraphy that was his handwriting. My vision blurred and the letters swam in front of my eyes, hiding their meaning. I dashed the water away and told myself not to be so stupid.

                I began to read.

                Trapped between these pages are my feelings, thoughts and favourite memories of our time together that I like to revisit more often than others. I hope that none of it will be forgotten; despite the damage time does to the mind. I want to remember – above all else – who she is and just how much she means to me as there is no point to life without her in it.

                I hope this will be enough.

                So it is to you, my darling, that I dedicate this diary of our thrilling adventures and daring escapades, as it will be yours one day, so you can use it as I did and the purpose for which it was written. Remember, my love, remember me, and remember us.

I turned the page with fresh tears in my eyes to the contents; a list of memorable dates instead of chapter names, showing just how close was his attention to detail. I remember, my dear, all of it – everything. The events, timeless and eternal, are engraved into my mind like carvings in a shoddily varnished wooden table-top made by bored school kids. I have them recorded exactly as you have written them that I can quote your words by heart.

                It is not enough.

                You were mistaken. It might have been enough for you but not for me, you weren’t left behind. I need you here in my arms where I know you are safe and love me as much as I love you.

It is not enough.

The End

0 comments about this story Feed