Thinking About Boxes

by Minelle Jeddy, age 12
Thinking About Boxes Minelle lives in New York City. Her favorite flower is the night-blooming cereus. Minelle is 12 years old. Everything is possible.

“Pushing is very interesting, if you think about it. It is either hard or easy, or it depends on what you’re pushing. If you happen to be a stronger person, then what you’re pushing seems lighter when it isn’t. Or maybe it isn’t the pushing that’s interesting.”

Pushing is very interesting, if you think about it. It is either hard or easy, or it depends on what you’re pushing. If you happen to be a stronger person, then what you’re pushing seems lighter when it isn’t. Or maybe it isn’t the pushing that’s interesting. Maybe it’s the people that make it interesting.

I bet most people think pushing is a boring task, but it really isn’t. You also might think of pushing differently, depending on what you’re pushing. For example, if you’re pushing something you really like, you might like pushing more.

I happen to be pushing something right now, at this very moment, and it happens to be very interesting. It is a giant, humongous, super heavy, unbelievable box. We have to get it there in a few minutes, so I really should be more paranoid. We still have to push a few more boxes there.

You might think that boxes are interesting to push. On the whole, they really aren’t. If the thing inside the box that is being pushed is interesting, then, of course, that would be completely different. But if you are pushing a box, and that box has a lot of empty space in it, are you also pushing the thing inside the box? Because the thing inside the box is also moving.

However, pushing means exerting force to move something, typically with your hand on it. So, are you actually pushing the thing inside, or just the box? Are you pushing the whole thing? For example, if you are pushing a person, are you also pushing the parts inside of a person?

Now, I’m nervous. We are at least five minutes late. Based on where we are, we aren’t getting there for another ten minutes. Running with boxes is much harder than it seems. I can feel the butterflies in my stomach. Late means taking longer, spending more time, being here for longer. Nobody wants to push boxes past dusk. We have about twenty minutes until dusk.

Time is interesting. We let it completely run our lives. It’s quite funny, actually. We do everything in our lives, consciously or subconsciously, based on something that doesn’t stay consistent on the earth. For example, in one place right now, dusk has already happened. In others, dusk is hours away. For such a long time, our entire existence is run on time. How much time has passed? How much time until this or that happens? What time is it now? When does time stop mattering? When can we just say that we exist right now, and that’s what matters?

It’s not just us. Plants are also based on time. Or did we just base them on time? How long until they grow? How long does it take from the time they were planted in the ground to when you can first see the signs of life?

Now, we’re here. We’re about twenty minutes late. All the light is gone. The box guy, as I call him, is pacing in front of us. He is angry. We are late, we are slow, we now must finish the rest of boxes in the dark. His lips are moving, and I can kind of hear his words, but my only thought is that he uses the royal we.

The royal we is the use of “we” instead of “I” by an individual person. It is self-importance that typically makes them do this. Self-important people often have no reason to be self-important. One issue with self-important people is that they often haven’t achieved anything to make them feel this way. Most people think they have a small ego, but those people have the biggest egos, and they pretend to be modest even though they clearly are not.

Self-importance also comes from status. For example, if you are, say, running a business and there are 12 people working for you, wouldn’t you automatically think yourself more important? And then, pretend one of those 12 people is challenging your authority. Would you let them, or would exert your self-importance, and the royal we, and say “no?”

We are almost done. One more load, and then we’re done. Then everybody goes home, wherever home is. Some people leave town, and others don’t. We all go to different places at the end of the day. But in the morning, we’re always back pushing boxes.

Home is different for all people. Some people say home is where you live, while others say that they are vagabonds. Home is a matter of opinion. If you ask someone where their home is, they might not say where they live. They might say a completely different place. The actual definition of home is where you live, typically permanently. But, what if your mind lives in a different place then your body? Is your home where your mind wants you to be, or where you actually are?

The boxes are different today. The boxes are smaller, and there are many more of them. The boxes have extra room in them. There usually isn’t any. I wonder what’s inside, but we are on an absolutely 100% need-to-know basis. And we don’t need to know. Ever. I really want to open the box.

The one I’m carrying right now is even opening a little bit. I can’t. I just can’t. I’m banned from opening a box. We all are. What’s the point to us? We’re just pushing them, aren’t we? But, what are we pushing? I’ve never thought about it before. I really want to know now. I need to know.

Temptation is the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise. Temptation is hard to resist. You never need the thing you are tempted to have. You just know you must have it. You must do it. There aren’t any questions. It’s the end of discussion.

I think I’m supposed to feel guilty. Or look weird. Guilty because I stole the box. Weird because I put it in my pocket. I don’t think most people have stolen cube-shaped boxes in their pockets. So far, only two people have given me weird looks. I know at least one of them knows I took a box. I don’t know if I should ask her to not say anything or just pretend I didn’t do anything. This is by far the scariest thing I’ve done in the five years I’ve been here.

Fear means being afraid that something might hurt or harm you in any way. Fear is scary. Fear is being scared. Everybody is scared of something or has feared something before. Depending on the person, different people have different levels of fear.

I don’t need to choose. She comes up to me and asks me about the box. Why did I take it? What was I going to do with it? Did I care about the contents? Did I know the contents? I didn’t have answers.

“Alexa Roberts, I expected better of you. You’ve been here,” the box guy looks down at his list, “five years now, haven’t you? I knew you were probably tricked into doing this. This isn’t like you. So, I’m going to give you a warning. If you take another box, you’re leaving. If you leave Raina, you’re leaving. If you stop for any reason, you’re leaving. Also, remember the power I have. Remember what I did for you. Remember.”

The last word is like a whisper, but I still know exactly what he’s talking about. He influenced a lot of things that were related to me. The only condition was me not leaving. I can’t leave this place. It is my home. It’s the only place I can be.

Restrictions. Restriction means a limiting condition or measure. Restrictions are rules. Most people hate restrictions. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Self-restrictions are different. There is no such thing as breaking the rule you made. It happens, but it doesn’t make sense.

For the next few weeks, we keep pushing those small boxes. I’m being watched. I’m no longer trusted. I have went from good to bad. I cannot be trusted. I’m searched after every load. They no longer think of me the same. Everybody is watching. I’m never alone anymore.

The past. The past means the time or period of time before the current moment. The past is history. Some people choose to forget the past, while others choose to remember the past. Constantly reliving. Constantly remembering. Constantly thinking.

I did it! I managed to steal a box! Again! I had slipped it into different people’s pockets throughout the day, and voila! Now, it’s in front of me in my bedroom. My hands are shaking as I reach out to open the flaps. I open it. Inside is a night-blooming cereus.

A night-blooming cereus is also called a moon cereus. They come from a kind of cactus called ceroid cacti. They require a large amount of sunlight, but only bloom at night. The moon cereus only blooms for one night before dying. The bud of the flower gets bigger before it blooms. The moon cereus blooms and dies in one night.

A night-blooming cereus in full bloom is beautiful. This one isn’t in full bloom, and it probably never will be. It won’t have enough sunlight to survive. However, I replant it in a pot just in case. I place it in the sunlight and hope. I hope that it will survive, that there will be enough sunlight. I hope that I will succeed in taking every single moon cereus from the box guy.

The next day, I take a compatible sack. They are these small bags that are bigger on the inside. Throughout the day, I find ways to take more and more boxes. I think I will take a break before anybody gets suspicious.

I’m too late. The box guy is suspicious. I overhear him say, “I bet Alexa Roberts did it. Do you have any more of the moon serum? We need to get the last shipment to her. Vera needs at least two hundred more for the potion. She’s going to kill us if we’re not ready by the blooming again.”

I run before the door opens. This was bad. Moon serum takes the truth out of you, and you can only speak lies. Therefore, everything you say will be reversed into the truth.

I continue my day like nothing had happened. My father had once tried to give me moon serum resistance training. He said that one day, my life would depend on it. I guess it does now.

My father’s life had depended on it. He just hadn’t been able to do it. If you fight the moon serum wrongly, it could be fatal. My father had practiced fighting it every day. He could fight it off in five seconds. Then one day, he did it wrong. He was being interrogated because he was believed to be stealing the sacred moon cereus, the most powerful plant. He fought it wrong. He lasted ten minutes, a new record.

At the end of the day, my sack is full. As I was leaving, the box guy stopped me.

“We have some questions for you, Alexa,” he says.

I stop where I was and try to calm down. He leads me into a room. It isn’t very big. It is really bright, and there is a glass of water on table with two chairs. He sits down on one of the two soft, comfortable chairs. I sit down opposite him.

“Please Alexa, have some water.” his voice is pleasant, as if the water is safe.

The ice in the water looks weird as I pick it up. I drink it as slowly as I can. The slower you drink the easier it is to fight it. When I finish drinking, I drop the glass to the floor before everything became disoriented. I focus on the small shard of glass by my foot. Slowly, everything comes back into focus, but I knew it would be a while before everything should be clear again.

The box guy’s voice cut through moon serum. “This is just a few questions, Alexa. Don’t worry. First question, have you been working here for a hundred years?”

“Yes.” The lie falls out of me. I control my breathing, slow and calm.

“Good. Do you push boxes?”

“No.”

I’m in control now, but I need to wait. He can’t know I’m in control. This is where everybody messes up, holding the control and not letting anybody know. Waiting for the right question.

“How do you feel right now?”

I almost smile. I could laugh right now. “Terrified.”

“Is this fun?”

“No.”

He’s catching on. “Are you in control?”

“Yes.” I always have been.

“Did you steal the boxes?”

“Maybe” I take a deep breath. My control is beginning to slip.

“It’s a yes or no question,” his voice becomes harder. “Did you steal the boxes?”

“Maybe.”

“Do you know what’s inside the boxes?”

“Yes.”

“Are you in control?”

“Yes.” I am no longer in control.

“We’re done here. Don’t come back tomorrow.”

I get up, and my legs wobble as I leave the room.

Time can pass slowly or quickly depending on what’s happening.

I replant the rest of the moon cereus late at night. I go to push boxes in the morning, and nobody notices me. We’re back to pushing the big heavy boxes again, and I peek inside and realize there is nothing. They are heavy boxes with nothing inside.

Each night I check on the moon cereus, thinking of where my father had failed and I succeeded. I might be imagining it, but the buds are getting bigger. I check on them a few weeks later. It’s late at night, and we stayed pushing boxes for longer than usual. When I go to check on them, instead of seeing buds, I see flowers, the night-blooming cereus at its best. I stay watching the flowers until morning. One by one, they lose their lives, nobody knowing what their former beauty was except for me.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.