The Longest Train Ride
A brown paper box finds itself all alone in the carriage of a fast-moving train
I’m sat on the floor of the carriage, and the train is now thundering along the tracks. My owner has either forgotten or abandoned me. I thought he had just gone to the bathroom, but it has been over an hour now and he has not returned. And now I was worried. What was beneath my brown paper packaging?
We brown paper boxes only have eyes on the outside so we rarely get to see what people put inside us, not unless they show it to us. We all wished that we could look up and see what people were lowering down into us, but you can’t see what your eyes aren’t capable of seeing. And alas, the majority of people did not know that we brown paper boxes were living beings, that we could see, that we could think, that we could feel. That we would love to be shown what was being put inside of us.
Some know and they look after us right, they know what we do, how hard we work carrying all these things that people need and want to them here and there and everywhere, they know that we need looking after, that we are finite and can’t live forever, but if we are looked after right we can be reborn. They know this, not many know this, but some do.
And we brown paper boxes are forever thankful for those people because not only did they show us what they put inside us, they always made certain that we could see what they took out of us.
Christmas was the best. I’ve never been used at Christmas, but I know many brown paper boxes who have, and they all tell the same story, that the being wrapped in wrapping paper part of Christmas sucked, but the joy in people’s faces, especially the children, as they freed us from that paper, every brown paper box who had experienced it said the same thing, that it was truly beautiful. I hope that I can live to see that just once. What I would give to see it just once.
There was a child on this carriage. And I was worried about what might be inside me. Why would my owner leave me here? He had been so meticulous with me, so caring. Ever since he had carefully placed inside of me whatever it was he had placed inside of me, he had held me so close to him. I had never felt more loved, more cared for. I had thought that this was a man who knew how to treat a brown paper box right.
So many people treat us badly, they tear us open in such a manner that we can't be reused, and then they throw us in the bin, and not the recycle one, dooming us to a landfill site. Never to be reborn.
But not this guy, this guy had treated me with such care.
And yet he had abandoned me. And on a train. A packed train that was heading for central London station. And I was certain I could hear a ticking inside of me. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.
Clocks went tick-tock, timers went tick-tock. And leaving me on a train with a tick-tock inside of me. After spending so much time caring for me. Never letting me out of his sight.
A man was approaching, I wondered if he would open me up and look inside. I wished he would open me up and look inside, then I would know if I had been betrayed. If my owner had used me, if my owner planned to destroy me, and in the most hateful of ways. It would be a cruel irony if that was the case, that the man who had cared for me most, would be the one to end my service as a carrier of goods, as a bringer of joy.
The man finally reached me and sat down on the opposite side of the carriage; he was looking at me. I knew what he was thinking, that’s a brown paper box and it’s just sitting there on a train, no owner in sight. I could already see the alarm bells ringing in his mind, and yet he was just sitting there. There was no doubting about why, he was clearly thinking to himself that if he reported the package, it may delay the train. And this was London, and the trains were delayed enough as it was.
But wait, he was clearly thinking about approaching me, I could see it in his eyes. I begged him to do so, something was ticking inside of me, we brown paper boxes have hearts of gold, we like helping people, not killing and maiming people. We lived to see the joy on people’s faces when they opened us up and got their hands on what was inside of us. We lived to see the joy on kids’ faces as they transformed us into forts.
Knowing that we had inflicted pain upon people, no brown paper box could survive it. I could not survive it. Please, open me up. I was begging him to. Save me from this evil.
Alas, he simply stood up and walked out of the carriage and I was once again left alone, all the while the young child and his mother remained on the carriage.
But then the train conductor, he arrived in the carriage. Maybe this man had not abandoned me after all. The train conductor slowly approached me, he looked over me with his eyes. He then turned his ears towards me, and I knew from the look on his face he had heard the ticking.
But then he left, he left me. Don’t leave me, I begged him. Come back.
He did not, and I was left alone with only the mother and the child, until suddenly the train came to an abrupt halt, and the mother and her child hurriedly left the carriage. Thank God was all I could think.
No, somebody was coming onto the carriage. Stay away from me.
Wait! It was a policeman! And he was wearing heavily padded clothing, bomb squad written on his gear. I was saved, he was going to remove the bomb from me, stop me from being a killer. Stop me from being killed. That meant I may yet live to see the joy on a child’s face at Christmas as they tear me open.
The bomb squad man crouched down to me, then carefully opened my top. I wished I could see what was inside of me, I wished I could see his face. I could see nothing but his torso.
After a few moments, to my surprise, he picked me up. Where was he taking me? Why is there hope? Was there not a bomb inside of me? Had it all been a mistake?
He placed me into the back of his van, and I remained there for about forty minutes. When the doors were opened though, I was not approached by him, I was approached by a robot. The robot picked me up, and the moment it did I knew my fate. They were going to leave whatever was inside me inside of me.
I wished they would not, I wished I could have lived to see for myself the joy on a child’s face at Christmas. It was not to be. The man who had shown me the most love had been the man who had sealed my doom. But his actions would not break me, he was the one who’d put inside of me hate rather than love. But I would not die with his hate, in a moment his hate would die without hurting anyone else. And that child who had been sat on the carriage with me would get to experience the joy of opening a brown paper box at Christmas. And that thought brought me more joy than anything I’d ever experienced. I closed my eyes and let the dream take me home.
Written as an entry for the SFS 3: Brown paper box challenge.
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