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Little Brown Paper Boxes

by Jennifer Taylor 12 months ago in Short Story
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As the Memories Fade

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pewari/3043474304

Billy sat at the rickety wooden table with aged folded hands. His lips pursed as he pressed his toothless gums together in contemplation. He watched as a new brown paper wrapped box appeared in the stack by the opposing wall. "That just ain't right," he thought passively. He'd been in the little house for so long now he'd lost track of time. The clocks didn't even tick, or chime, or blink anymore. Sometimes the old house would groan, and the walls would shake as if the earth was moving underneath. But, Billy stayed seated at the table. What could he do about a shifting plate of the Earth anyway. He sometimes felt the pain of the shifting in his bones, but he remained still as a statue.

No, Billy kept steady vigil at the table. The sun dimly shown through the curtained windows, never any brighter than the setting rays from the west. He'd decided perpetual sunset was just as well. At the time the door disappeared from the wall it once stood, he found it perplexing but he had nowhere to go and no one to visit so it didn't matter that the little house had transformed into a prison of sorts. Once in a long while he would notice a person shaped shadow pass by one or both of the windows, but he refused to acknowledge the presence. He just didn't have a care to make a fuss about it. His voice was long gone with the words he had lost to time.

Pictures hung on the wall of what was probably family or friends, but their faces blurred to unrecognizable smears. Most days he peered upon them and noted the difference in female and male form, but Billy didn't have it in him to attempt to pull recollection of names. Some of the images spurred a pull at his heartstrings, which made him wrinkle his aged brow and then shake away the ache of longing. He would then pull in a deep breath and let it out slowly, and when he did that, another paper wrapped box would seat itself atop the pile by the now doorless wall.

All those boxes. Some had labels that he couldn't read. Those held a dainty ribbon of gold that probably meant something at sometime. Billy was reminded of wedding bells when he looked at those. Wedding bells and train whistles, which seemed such an odd combination, and he refused to try to recollect the connection, that action did nothing but bring on an unstoppable headache. Oddly enough, he opened his hand and pills of different colors rested in his palm. A tiny plastic cup of water in the other hand. He tossed the pills across the room, and set the water on the table. The little house shuddered, and his hips ached with the shifting of the floor. He leaned his head against the high-backed chair and continued to watch the pile of packages against the wall.

Many of the boxes appeared to have been wrapped with black greased hands as the prints were apparent, even from where he sat. He pondered long on those. The faint scent of motor oil or gasoline almost bringing the memory of a little cotton haired boy growing too quickly into a man. Billy felt that this was a good man and someone he liked to spend time with at some point before the tiny house boxed him in without escape. He'd had a familiar name but Billy could only remember that it rhymed with some color. It sometimes made him feel sad to catch that scent of the oil and gasoline, then a tear would escape from the corner of one of his eyes which he refused to spend the energy of wiping it away.

Billy studied a neatly wrapped set of boxes set to the side which were tied with colorful cotton strings, and swatches of fabric which would have made a warm quilt had they been sewn together. Random paint strokes almost formed the shape of an old hand saw and for some reason he smiled. Not a quite a full smile, but one reserved for an auburn haired young lady who performed acts straight from the heart without complaint of inherited obligations and responsibility.

There were so many boxes at this point, he was certain they would take over the small space and burst the walls which were becoming more and more fragile with each shimmy of the ground beneath. Some of the boxes spilled from the carefully placed stack and ended up around his feet. Some were spattered with carrot hued strands of what he believed to be hair trimmings, and tiny tire tracks tattoo'd the paper probably from a pocket sized car or truck rolling over them in a faux race. One of the packages near the tire track box seemed just a bit older, but it was marred with quick-silver trails and minute shoe marks from one of those fashion dolls so popular for little girls to play with before they were only for collecting.

Smaller paper wrapped packages began appearing on the table before him, in a combination of fours with blue ribbons carefully tied with bits of puzzle pieces; some appeared to have Army camouflage, motorbikes with four wheels, the masks of comedy and tragedy, and american footballs. Billy reached out to pick one up, when suddenly the smallest package landed in his lap. It was tied with a thin pink filigree ribbon. There were baby booties attached to this package and was most unfamiliar, with its complete newness. For reasons he could not explain, he was certain it had travelled far to land there in his lap.

With unexpected realization, Billy looked up wide-eyed from all the packages around him. He gasped while the sun transformed as if dawn arrived. The packages were the memories he'd lost through his last years. This tiny house was his aging, ailing body and he was trapped inside with no means of communicating his existence within. The house shook violently and he was tossed from the chair. He lay on his back amongst the packages wishing he could open at least one before he had to go.

Short Story

About the author

Jennifer Taylor

Working in IT at the moment, BS:DMDA and MS:ITM. However, creating and writing is a secret passion. I love to use my smarticles to build alternate universe where I'd like to reside.. or avoid at all costs.

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