Everything but the Box

I left it beneath the basement stairs after I moved out.

The efficient, quiet movers had packed everything else and loaded their trucks without ever touching the old box. The Realtor had never commented on it. I’m not sure anyone had even seen the space under the stairs. But I caught myself three times back in the house to pick up the box.

Each time I reminded myself of the long nights I’d spent upstairs, wanting to go down. To touch the weathered cardboard. To lift open the top panels.

One brave night I dumped a gallon of dirty water on it. I hoped it would short-circuit, if you could short out something like that. Of course, it hadn’t. Not so I could tell, anyway. It still called to me, kept me up, kept me near.

Not enough water. Across the ocean. An ocean might be enough. My new home in Dublin waited for me.

So for the last time, I turned my face away from the box.

Surely I could pick up the saw, or the hammer?

But that was only the box. No.

I walked up the stairs. I locked the door and left.

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