I gave the door a swift shove with my butt, and smiled as I heard it slam behind me.“I’m home!!”
I dragged myself laboriously down the hallway.
“Hello! Anyone here? I’m ho—”
My words died in a sigh as my eyes caught God in the sitting room. He was in his usual pose on the couch: legs crossed, newspaper in hand, head tilted down so that he could read the words above the rims of his glasses.
“You could have answered me,” I said bitterly.
“You knew I was here,” God answered without turning from his paper.
I was not giving up that easily.
“Nice of you to greet me.” I looked eagerly for blood to be dripping from my bitter knife—
But it was clean.
“How could I possibly hug you with that behemoth in your arms?”
I hardly had to lower my eyes to see the object of his contempt. The brown haze never left my lower horizon of vision.
“Whatever,” I said, brushing aside what vaguely felt like pain. Retreat seemed safer. “I’m going lay down for a bit.”
“You don’t have to carry that thing.” God still had not taken his eyes from the newspaper.
I hesitated, hoping he would look up at me. . . . Nothing. “It’s fine. I don’t mind it.” I turned to go.
“You wouldn’t be so exhausted.”
I stood still; my back to God. I wanted to look back. I wanted to see him looking at me. I wanted to see him smiling at me. But I knew he wouldn’t be doing either. So I stood still, and trembled with starved desire.
God’s words crept tantalizingly over my shoulder: “Maybe I could actually hug you again.”
A tear began to slither down my cheek. It paused to hide in the crevasse of my nose. The pause was long enough for me to catch it—annihilate it—before it got any further. I bridled my body to rigid stillness, and then proceeded up the stairs to my room.
I felt her back turned to me. I felt her tremble. I felt the desire cursing through her vessels.That is when I looked at her.
I looked on her with Love. All the Love I could muster I poured out upon her small back, bent as it was in order to support the huge weight in her arms.
And I smiled.
That is when the tear broke free from her weary eyes.
I felt it meander down her cheek. I felt it brush up against her nose.
But an icy blast shot over her heart and extinguished the tear and desire in one swift strike.
I watched her as she walked determinedly—and yet slowly, painfully up the stairs. I felt her feet becoming heavier with each step taken. I watched her disappear from my view. I continued to watch the void as another butt-shoved door slammed behind her.
Then I heard her drop in exhaustion to her bed.
I knew that abomination-of-a-box was sitting beside her—her feeble arms still wrapped around it in a spiritual death grip.
I looked back at the paper in front of my eyes, but once more saw nothing. All I saw was my daughter—my precious daughter—wasting away before my eyes.
Her breathing deepened. Her heart rate slowed. Her delta waves broke upon their shores.
I put down my paper and crept up the stairs. Her door was slightly ajar, and I stood still outside gazing within. The foot of the bed faced the doorway, allowing for a complete view of the sleeping girl inside.
Despite Jaime’s own battle with her body, my own eyes never ceased to find peace resting upon the sight. Her wavy, brown hair cascaded from her face, to the pillow, to the mattress. Her pale blue eyes were hidden below long curved eyelashes, made all the more prominent in their reposed stillness. Her small lips were slightly parted to allow the slow ebb and flow of her chest. I noticed the deep curve of her waist and the smooth rise of her hip. Her legs were tangled up in each other. Her small body was tucked—almost cuddled—around the large box in the center of her bed.
The sight of that abomination threatened to bring torrents of rage over my body, but I looked once more at my sleeping girl, and the anger was replaced by sadness. Grief over the inane anguish she was inflicting upon herself.
I pushed open the door, and softly entered the room. The box was before me.
I glanced down at my daughter once more. A small dribble of saliva dangled on the edge of her lip. I smiled. Even sleeping beauties are human, I thought, dotingly to myself. Reassured, I returned my attention to the box. It was a boring, mundane, run-of-the-mill cardboard box. No print to disrupt its monotonous brown.
In a rush of passion—whether of anger or love, I care not—my hands rushed to the box and opened it wide; they plunged inside ready to release its contents. But I paused. Hands still submerged, I pondered the darkness of the box. Not many knew what this box contained. I was not even sure Jaime fully knew. She had simply acquiesced; allowed denial and repression to imprison the contents to their cardboard vault. But I knew what was in here. I could never forget.
And so I allowed my hands to plunge deeper into the darkness until they felt the smooth, cool surface of the object of my expedition. I clutched the object and pulled it up, out of the darkness.
I could not help but revel at what I saw in my hands. It was a small wooden box. Had I not been familiar with this box, I would have been surprised at the comparative size and weight when I considered the massive cardboard box that so exhausted my daughter. This wooden box was roughly twelve inches long, eight wide, and four high. It was a beautiful deep mahogany, and was inscribed with miniature leaves, flowers, butterflies, and birds. It was captivating to behold, and my heart ached at the thought of Jaime’s ignorance to its delicate richness.
My fingers caressed the golden clasp, and I was about to unlatch the wisdom and strength held within when Jaime stirred in her sleep. I quickly placed the mahogany box back within its debilitating captor, and resealed the lid. I moved swiftly back to the doorway and turned to watch Jaime as she slowly stirred into wakefulness. But before she opened her eyes I was back on the couch; legs crossed, eyes blankly staring at the page of news, waiting for her to emerge, feeble arms clutching that horrid cardboard box, oblivious to the life within.