The Box This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 27, 2010
The Box. A cottage, a castle, a dungeon. A horse-drawn carriage or a pirate ship. The Box. I was four, I was sick, I was bored, and my mother was desperate. She dug an old TV box out of the attic. About the size of an armchair, it fit me easily. It was soon embellished with paint and stickers – a preschooler's necessities. I somehow ended up covered in paint too, but I wasn't complaining. I had a new toy, and it wasn't just a Barbie doll either. One of infinite possibilities and endless fun.

The Box served me well for many years. It was my favorite toy – I was always playing with it. Sometimes it was a hotel for my dolls, or an evil robot. On the rare occasion when my brother was civilized, I would let him take a spaceship ride to Mars, or back in time where we would ride dinosaurs together. Any game I played involved The Box. I would force babysitters inside and pretend they were in jail. Once on my mom's birthday, I pretended to mail myself to her. I was ecstatic – it was a new toy every day.

Eventually all the love wore it down. The corners rounded and the cardboard became soft from sitting in it. My parents definitely noticed. Every time I asked for duct tape to fix it, a glint of hope entered their eyes, Maybe this is it. Maybe she'll finally give it up. Ha. Not happening. They were very persistent, yes. Every year during the annual house-cleaning-and-throwing-out-junk week, they would ask the dreaded question: “Are you ready to get rid of the box?” You can guess my response.

I would run downstairs and hide in The Box until someone coaxed me out with some Goldfish or a banana. This continued until I was about 10.

One winter day after school, I went downstairs to get some paper for homework. It was gone. The Box, The Sacred Box, was gone. All those years of playing. Gone. Who was the thief? There was only one suspect, the one called Mommy. I argued with her in my most sophisticated and persuasive fourth-grade way: “But, Mooom!” but to no avail. The garbage truck was long gone. My brother was devastated as well. He wasn't as attached to The Box as I was, but he had still known some good times.

I will always remember The Box. It was with me longer than some of my friends. Unfortunately, some people didn't value it quite as much as I did (Hi, Mom!), so it met its end sooner than I would have liked. The Box lived a full life, its meager quantity made up for by its quality. Though ragged and old, The Box was completely saturated with love, much more than an ordinary truck or doll could hold. The Box was the best kind of toy out there. There were no flashing lights, and it didn't move or talk. It didn't even do anything remarkable. But it had the one thing the rest of my toys didn't – room for imagination.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

libertyman said...
Jun. 25, 2013 at 3:37 pm
Great work! I felt like I took a walk through your fun times with The Box! I just now remember that my cat loved his box. He used to bite pieces off and spit them on the floor. Lol, boxes are pretty cool! Keep up the good work!
MckenzieB said...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 9:33 pm
that was great! :D it reminded me of all the boxes i went through when i was younger
C.Pearl said...
May 15, 2011 at 9:48 pm
This is amazing! I love how you portrayed the box's aging as you grew older.
z3CarGaragez said...
Oct. 5, 2010 at 7:04 pm
I really loved your piece, it was so enjoyable to read and you could tell that there was so much emotion put behind it! Great job!
Site Feedback