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The Box

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“Don’t open the box,” my father always told me. He was a wise man and I was pretty sure I was his favorite child because I never disobeyed him, but this time I felt too tempted. “This must be the way Connor feels every day,” I thought, staring at the mysterious box. Connor was my little brother. At the age of five, he was already a mastermind at getting under my parent’s skin, as well as mine. He probably just wanted attention since he was the baby of the family. Every day was a new adventure for him. “Which walls should I color a huge rainbow on using every color of my sixty four pack of Crayola’s? Which messy meal should I throw at mommy? Which one of my sister’s favorite shirts should I cut a hole in?” These were probably the first questions he asked himself when he woke up in the morning. This time, I was the one with the giant question. “Should I open it?”
The box was brought into my house sometime in the beginning of January. It wasn’t a big box; it was only about the size of my mailbox (minus all the snow that was currently lying on top). My father had walked in the door just like every day before saying, “I’m home!” My brother and I ran to give him a big hug like we always did, but for some unexplainable reason his arms we not outstretched like usual. “Daddy, why are your hands behind your back?” I asked curiously. “Yeah daddy, why?” asked Connor. “It a surprise!” said my father, as he tried to sneak away. We chased after him and finally got a glimpse of the mystery. A box. A plain white box with no writing, no ribbons; nothing. He set it down on the kitchen table without taking his hands off it. “I should put this somewhere that you two can’t reach,” my father said playfully. “But daddy! We wanna know what’s in the box!” Connor screamed. He was known to get a little too angry sometimes. “Be patient kids, you’ll know what’s in the box before long,” said my father.
I was impatient. After my brother and I noticed that my father had placed the box on top of the bookcase in the living room, I’d walk by daily as if just staring at it would reveal its content. Unfortunately, I noticed that this was not the case and I decided I needed to work a little harder. After the longest week of my 9 year old life passed, I decided it was time. When my mom was outside playing in the snow with my little brother, and my father had not yet returned from work, I found the ladder. I struggled, but managed to prop it up against the book case. “There’s no turning back now,” I thought after second guessing my plan. I had to do this. I needed to know what was in the box. I climbed up the ladder quietly, afraid someone would hear. At about half way up, I looked down and started to shake. “Don’t look down, don’t look down.” I kept repeating this to myself as I continued my ascension to the top of the bookcase. Before long I was at the top. There it was right before my eyes. The magical box that had sparked my curiosity more than anything before was in my reach.
“KIERA GRACE O’REILLY! What do you think you’re doing up there?” The sound of my father’s voice startled me so much that I fell off the ladder. I must have been so focused on finally discovering what was in the box that I hadn’t noticed him come in. He ran over to where I was sprawled on the floor and I burst out in tears. “I’m so sorry daddy! I’ll never do it again! I just needed to know what was in the box!” I cried. “Honey, are you okay?” my father replied as if he had not heard my dramatic apology. I had forgotten that I had even fell, caught up in the fear of getting in deep trouble. At that moment my mother came in the door with Connor. “What is going on in here?” my mother asked worriedly as she rushed over to my father and I. “She fell off the ladder, but thankfully she doesn’t seem to have broken any bones. She was lucky she didn’t hit her head,” my father said honestly. “Kiera, what were you doing on the ladder? How did you manage to even bring it over here?” my mother asked questionably. I was able to stop crying and thinking that they weren’t too mad, I said, “I’m stronger than you think, mommy.” “This is not a time for jokes Kiera Grace! I asked you what you were doing on the ladder! Now tell me!” When my mother said this I realized she actually was quite mad at me. “I just wanna know what’s in daddy’s box,” I said, as I started crying again. “What box, Patrick?” asked my mother. I couldn’t believe my mother didn’t even know about the box. I thought mothers knew everything.
My father began to laugh. I wasn’t sure if I should laugh also, or if I should be scared that he was keeping a secret from the whole family. Connor walked over and sat down next to me. He had been standing over by the door, trying to stay out of trouble for the first time in his life. My mother, Connor, and I watched attentively as my father propped the old ladder against the walnut bookcase once again. He put one foot on the first rung, swung his head towards us and asked, “Do you want to know what’s in the box?” Connor and I nodded, transfixed on our father, as my mother stood there confused. “Nothing is in the box,” my father said with his hearty Irish laugh. He continued up the ladder and back down again, bringing the box down to prove to us he was telling the truth. Connor and I were so disappointed. “Emilie, I’m not hiding anything from you,” my father said sincerely to my mother, “I was only trying to teach the kids a lesson.” Now Connor and I were the ones that were confused as my mother nodded understandingly at my father. “Have you ever heard the saying ‘curiosity kills the cat?’” my father asked us. “This is a perfect example. I knew one of you would figure out a way to look inside the box. Honestly, I thought it’d be Connor, but that’s beside the point. You now have learned that patience is important because when you get too curious, the outcome is usually not what you hoped for.”
From that day on, the box has sat on my dresser as a simple reminder of my father’s lesson. When my father originally said there was nothing in the box I was disappointed that there wasn’t some new toy or tasty treat for me and Connor. As the years went by though, I began to better understand the meaning of the box. I have become a very patient person and remember the box when anyone tries to change that.





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AllieClement said...
Feb. 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm
I felt related to the main character in her attitude toward the box;; holla :D
 
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