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The Jeweled Box
We call someone who eagerly looks forward to adventures an adventurer. But what about the rest of us? What about those who just are minding their own business and adventure demands that they take part?
Tibet gets very hot around the time it starts to get cold for us in the U.S. So, my parents thought it would be the perfect place to go for a two week vacation. My sister and I were thrilled. Every teenager U.S. wants to go to restaurant overseas and find out the name of the dish they ordered was “Toto.” However, my parents were wrong. It does NOT only get very hot in Tibet, it rains. We were stuck in a sticky, U.S. embassy full of other ill-informed tourists staring at the rain through the glossy windows with ticked off expressions on our faces.
After two restless days, the rain let up relinquishing my family from its isolated torment. However, every other tourist and family was dying to get outside as well. I had never seen my parents so eager to shove a fanny pack around their waists. My mother completed the look with a ridiculous sun hat thing that I bet would’ve shaded the whole family and double as an umbrella. My sister dressed in tight jeans, shirt, and clipped a hair piece to her, well, her hair. As usual, she dressed fashionably and sexy but I couldn’t help finding her outfit pointless in rural Tibet. My dad, well, let’s not talks about what he was wearing but how he managed to find lime green jean shorts eludes me.
Why am I going into length about what were wearing? Well, as I said, every other person was dying to get outside and see what they could before it rained again. Meaning, the tour buses filled up while my sister ticked the rest of the family off waiting as she tearfully tried to find her lip gloss. What really delayed us was what I said in annoyance to my sister’s immeasurable vanity.
“Carilyn!” I snapped “The child sweat shop that made your lip gloss is probably somewhere around here and you can bribe one of the kids with a sub sandwich in return probably get a crate full of the stuff.”
Okay, was what I said so bad? What I said was probably true. And it was clever, but no, my parents had to heckle me about how that was crude and insensitive and there are actual child sweat shops and don’t disrespect Subway…We missed the buses. Another thing that was automatically my fault and everyone took their anger out on me. My dad, who had enough water bottles in his backpack to water the White House's front lawn, glared at me as he tried to thrust a bottle in my hand. I snatched it away and then got yelled at for snatching. So I was in a pretty foul mood when my mom’s eyes got big as she read this pamphlet for and authentic tour of some little, ancient temple. I had never heard of its name before, but I was grumpy and I didn’t want to say anything so I grabbed another bottle of water and stayed mad. We boarded a rickety tour bus to head to this little known temple.
During the trip however, I drank five more bottles of water. For some reason, I was ticking off my family even more with my constant drinking. The temple was…hideous. The only thing I found beautiful was the giant mountain blocking it from view. The bus shambled up another hill and dropped us and the rest of the people on the bus off at the mossy entrance. Our tour guide was picking something out of his teeth when he ambled over.
“If you’re all ready,” he drawled. “We can begin.”
The temple was built by a group of pagan monks who worshipped Olenka, the magic deity. The temple was reputed to have been the resting place of an ancient treasure given to the monks to guard. It was hidden away in the temple and had yet to be found. Supposedly, the treasure was magical (big surprise there) and for one to gain it, they had to pass a test. If they failed…I wasn’t sure what happened if they failed. The bottles of water had caught up to me and I slipped off to find the restroom.
For future reference, there are no public restrooms inside of ancient temples. If you are in search of the lou, ask, don’t slip away from your parents like I did. Instead of the bathroom facilities, I found myself twisting and turning as I slid down a stone shaft. In the midst of my screaming, the tour guide’s dull voice echoed inside of my head:
“Ancient temples like these are hosts to secret passageways, although not one has been found…”
Perhaps the archaeologists had not the urge to use the restroom to motivate them. The passageway dropped me out onto a cold, stone floor in a small rectangular room. Those monks sure spared no expense, I thought as I picked myself up. There was light in the room, yet I couldn’t identify the source; the dust was still thick in the air after my tunnel excursion. The dust cleared and upon a dusty marble pedestal, rested a jewel-encrusted box.
My need to use the restroom was long forgotten by the tunnel, but I gazed open mouthed at the box’s splendor. It was fashioned from a fragrant, glossy wood. The jewels themselves were probably worth many fortunes, but it seemed they kept changing. Was that one a ruby or diamond…now an emerald? I ran my hand along the lid, it was pleasantly warm. I opened the box and peered inside. And then frowned, a simple jade figurine of the winged goddess looked back at me.
It must be worth a pretty penny as well, though, right? I greedily reached to pick it up and then stopped. It didn’t feel right to just take it; it felt like I was stealing something from somebody’s room. It would fine if all I told my parents was I fell down a hole. I closed the box and was immediately greeted by a flash of blindingly white light.
I blinked. I was in front of the bathroom facilities. Outside of the temple. With my parents.
“Wasn’t that amazing?”My mom asked as she adjusted her ridiculous hat.
“Wha-what?” I stuttered.
“The temple,” said snapping her fingers as if expecting her $2.99 nails would jog my memory.
Obviously, they didn’t realize a thing.
“No more water for you,” my dad said.
I wiped my hands on my jeans and realized they were no longer empty. My heart froze. I could feel a small figure pressing against my thigh.