The Brown Box

“I hate putting on my glasses in the morning. It feels like I am being forced to see clearly even when I am not ready. Sometimes, you just need to look at your surroundings with a lack of perfect eyesight. It is prettier this way. My little world of fuzzy pops of color. A blurry sanctuary, where I move slowly with my arms spread out to avoid bumping into the surroundings. Also, I hate my current glasses. Too bright. I should have picked the dark blue ones. I looked prettier in those. Another unsatisfactory decision I made in my adult life.”

“Well, it is another morning that I cannot avoid. So, time for some loud music. I am sure then the day will feel better. Moreover, I finally found the song I was looking for. Had heard it on the radio 3 days ago but could not remember the title or the singer. ‘Bury a friend’ by Billie Eilish plays on Spotify. Resting her hands gently on her head, Meera moves slowly dancing to the music. Aaahhhh, this is life. Blurry and loud.”

Staring at the blurred pops of green she thinks of the upcoming office party. “All my shopping is done, and I have 2 new outfits for the party to choose from. I am on a roll. Efficient and sexy, yeah, I do look sexy. I love this mirror. Maybe I should visit that store this Sunday. I am free to do whatever I desire. The pressure to make them worth it every time is no longer there.” The timer goes off louder than the song. “Time to water the babies.” Lifting the watering can, Meera speaks up, “Good morning little ones. How are you doing? I know, I miss him too. He belongs with you all. With his real family.”

Her favorite mirror shows up again as she refills the can with water at the kitchen sink. “I always look prettier without glasses. It is easier to find beauty when dark circles and pimples aren’t clear.” Meera’s hands tremble to hold the frame of the mirror staring into her own eyes. Wondering where did that girl go? The one who did not care for compliments to feel her self-worth. Disappointed and determined, Meera shuts her eyes to take in a deep breath. “Today is what I have, today I choose to dance, cook biryani and take care of my babies,” Meera repeats the affirmation one more time while lifting the watering can to water the rest of her babies waiting quietly. A loud knock at the door disrupts her affirmations the third time.

Knock Knock

“Who could that be at this time? It is only 10 am.” She stops before opening the door. Suddenly remembering about her loneliness literally. There is no more knock and no one outside. Only a big blurry brown box.

Her hand searches for the doorknob and lock at the same time and it opens in one loud sound. “I should start using the keyhole. It is safer that way since he is all moved out.” No one else knows Meera talks to herself loudly other than the one who moved out 2 weeks ago. He even took their baby. The one they had nurtured and cared for months until their relationship died a slow death. “I mean I should at least get to water it 3 times a week and then every other Sunday. Joint custody.” She looks around to find no one behind the creaking door. And then her foot bumps into the brown box. No shipping label, big and heavy, suspicion is at its peak. “What could it be? And who put it here?”

Walking in with the brown box, Meera opens her laptop to order the latest camera. “This one will go on the door outside. I own the apartment, so no permissions are required. $75 dollars is a good price. Give me another minute, Mr. Brown Box then I will greet you properly. Meera was 5 when she first started talking  to herself. Some people said it was the result of the trauma of losing her mom at such a tender age. But who knows? Maybe her therapist knows. Anyway, back to the story of the brown box.

“Are you staring at my pimple? I know it is quite big. And right before the office party.” It looks like an aftermath of a sad breakup. “ poor Meera, she is so lost without him that she has stopped giving herself weekly at-home facials.” It is her loud grunt that reminds her that she hasn’t had her morning coffee yet. The grunt does not smell of coffee. “Coffee before feeling sorry for myself”

She finishes 2 cups of French press silently staring at the brown box wondering what is in it? Unable to avoid it anymore. “I don’t chase I attract. What belongs to me will find me.” Repeating her favorite affirmation Meera walks to the bedroom like a human with clear eyesight wearing her glasses. “I don’t chase I attract”. She stops midway the 5th time and turns her head out to look at the box. “The one I attracted. Because clearly, I did not order anything in the last 2 weeks for myself. Even after the breakup, I was very careful not to use shopping as therapy. I opted for actual therapy.” Holding her running clothes in arms she walks towards the box staring at it. “I am not scared of you look. I am a strong woman who has taken self-defense classes. And who also carries pepper spray.”

“Ooh knife.”

She walks to the kitchen looking for a knife to slit open the brown box that she attracted and did not chase.

“It is time my friend.” The moment is right, Meera and brown box both are ready for the big revelation. Slitting the thick transparent tape breathing fast she rethinks her decision one more time. “It cannot be a bomb. Who would want to kill me and take down this building with them?” And then she remembers her ex, maybe he has finally decided to do it.  

In the haste of anger and frustration, she cuts open the brown box. The tease is over. The truth is out. Her hands gently take out the plant and place it back on the table next to the window with the others.

“Welcome back sweetheart!”

Watching all her babies together, she finally accepts who she truly misses the most and lets the extremely well-guarded tear fall on her dry cheeks touching the pimple on the chin.

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