“The Box” by Tylea Banks


She had a thing for cardboard boxes. Big, small, short, and tall, wide, or narrow. She’d use boxes to organize and compartmentalize things. This created a sense of security for the objects she kept in boxes. She had a knack for keeping things separated based on their structure, shape, color, and size. She kept so many boxes that it looked as if she was ready to move at a moment’s notice. She used boxes like anyone else would use them. To stack things on top of each other to create more space, and to stow things away that she rarely used.

Boxes created a sense of silence out of chaos for her. Everything was intact, safe, comforting. Boxes. Simply made out of cardboard and smelled of trees. Simplicity. She really liked this one particular box though. It was simply perfect. It was big enough to encompass her. She would sometimes climb inside this box just to see how it felt to be inside one. She kept this one particular box in the middle of her room. It wasn’t a nuisance to have it in the middle of her room, and it didn’t take up much space at all. She didn’t spend much time in the box; as soon as she stepped in, she stepped out, and was satisfied because it was just a box. She even imagined the box in the middle of her room as a portal to another life and time zone, but she figured she was happy in her current, simple life. The life that surrounded her was pretty good for now. This box, like her life, was simple.

But something shifted in her world and it became violent, turbulent, and even unfriendly. She began to retreat to the box because it offered her a sense of security. She would sit in the box more often and became comfortable. This box became her secret hideaway. No one could knock down the fortress of these walls. In this box, she was able to collect her thoughts, organize them, and store them there. No one could infect her box with their negativity. In this box was nothing but positive space. Every day was an adventure and the walls of the cardboard box would manifest into whatever she dreamed up as the outside world cracked and became fragmented. Her box was a result of a continental drift, the need to be separated from a bigger piece and created as her own source of solitude. She created her own climate which was warm, subtle, and welcoming. Her mother used to be a source of comfort.

The more hectic life outside this box became, the more she did not want to leave. She began to disconnect from her family, even more so her mother. See, her mother was not as sturdy as this box, nor did she hold the capacity to hold herself up like the four walls of this box. Unlike this box, her mother was cracked and fragmented and the seams of her existence were beginning to shatter. The mother was no longer the fortress she used to be and the young girl she cared for no longer felt safe and secure. When she would hide in this box, she imagined her mother to be as she was before: the one who would envelope her in her love; someone who made her feel secure; a girl able to share herself with the outside world.

As time grew on, the young girl felt like she had no one or nowhere to run to express herself. She became closed in and not even the solitude of her very room could save her. The only thing that could save her was the three-dimensional worlds she created in this box where no one could judge her or manipulate her thoughts. This box became home to her and in that box, she could scream, cry, runaway to a foreign land, and no one would know that in this box, she could escape.

Country: United States of America

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