Heart in a Box

They didn’t say anything about wrapping love and keeping it aside. Or if they did, she must have missed the memo. Because all she had ever known was to squander her affections on people who crossed her lives, and left souvenirs behind. She didn’t collect them, of course, but they were there, reminders of what she had given away, and what she received. This went on and on until the day she met him, but she was asked to package her love and set it aside to be shipped out.

And though she wanted to send him the scent of the summer and the pictures of falling almonds, she knew not how. She wanted to send him her words, which she would have shared when she would sit with him on the swing and watch the breeze carry away forgotten dust and abandoned leaves. When she asked the officials, they said the could not ship summer scents, half-nibbled almonds, and leaves and dust. Something more tangible, like a letter or a picture or even a small box would do. However, it just didn’t satisfy her to wrap up her dreams in a poem, a polaroid, or in things that he may leave on the shelf.

However, she went home and tried her hand at bad poetry about the colours she had seen in the market, and how she would have liked to hold his hand while they window-shopped. She tried to promise she wouldn’t ask for anything except holding hands. That would do, she said; but the poem wouldn’t rhyme. Then she tried to borrow her neighbour’s camera to arrest how her clothes lay, as she couldn’t decide what to wear when he’d come to meet her on a rainy evening. But the picture was either crooked, or too dark, or didn’t convey the longing. Then she put together a box with bus tickets of rides that she wanted them to take, and coal that they could have seen turn to grey as they lay in each others’ arms. As she did so, she left a space in the box for silence that she wanted them to share. But as she tried to wrap it, she knew she was locking up love in a box, and she hadn’t intended for that anyway.

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