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The Package

A Different Point of View

By Dawn SaloisPublished 3 years ago 9 min read
The Package
Photo by Bob Osias on Unsplash

Memory unlocked the door, being careful not to drop the bags of food and supplies she had picked up in town. As she opened the door she caught her reflection in the window and noticed her dark curly hair was frizzy and her green eyes looked tired and worn out. She walked into the cabin and sat the bags on the table while she went back to the car to get her luggage. She had ten days off from work, so she was prepared to stay that long. However, she might leave sooner if staying in the cabin was too difficult.

The cabin belonged to her parents, but her father had passed away three years ago from a heart attack and her mother refused to stay in the cabin without him. As far as she knew nobody had been at the cabin since the last time she stayed here with Mark. Memory’s face became flushed with anger when she thought about him. She and Mark had been together for over four years and even though they had a long distance relationship she had believed they were meant to be together. He helped her through the difficult time after her father had died. He helped make arrangements for the funeral and talked to friends and relatives who came to pay their respects while Memory sat with her mother upstairs. Her mother simply wasn’t up to the task of making decisions or talking to people during that time.

They eventually wanted to live together, but they saw each other as often as they could and texted or talked on the phone several times a day. For vacations they usually met at her parents’ cabin. She had, with her mother’s permission, given him a key to their cabin near Whitefish Lake in Montana. They could go swimming or boating in the summer or drive up to the Whitefish Mountain Resort in the winter to go skiing and snowboarding. She could easily recall the way his blue eyes lit up with excitement and the contrast of his dark hair against the snow.

Memory could recall many happy times staying in the cabin with her family and then with Mark. Everything changed six months ago when she and Mark had planned to spend their Christmas holiday together at the cabin. She was surprised when she arrived at the cabin and Mark was not there. His flight into Kalispell, the nearest commercial airport, was scheduled to land two hours before hers. She thought maybe he had gone into town so she didn’t worry right away. She carried in the gifts and suitcase she had brought. When she had finished unpacking and he still wasn’t there she thought maybe his flight had been delayed. She sent him a text message: “Are you on your way?”

He texted back: “Sorry. I had to leave”

Memory messaged back: “Why?” She assumed he had to run into town for something.

When he didn’t answer she tried to call him, but he didn’t answer his phone. She walked into the bedroom and looked in the dresser he used when they stayed there. She opened the drawers but most of them were empty. One drawer had a small box wrapped in brown paper that someone must have forgotten when leaving the cabin. It was obvious Mark had not unpacked yet. If he had been planning to spend the holiday at the cabin with her he would have brought clothes and toiletries. He had apparently decided to leave for some reason, but she couldn’t imagine why. She decided his phone could have died or he might be in an area with poor service, so she would have to find out when she talked to him.

When she hadn’t heard from Mark by late afternoon, Memory had spent the next couple of hours texting and making phone calls to Mark’s phone that went straight to voicemail. He did not speak to his family, so she didn’t know how to contact anyone else who might know how to find him. She had met his friends when she visited him in Portland, but she didn’t have their contact information. The realization finally hit her that he had decided to end things. He told her he was leaving, but didn’t give her any explanation other than that. He might have met another woman or just decided that he didn’t want to be with her. The only person who would’ve known his reasons for sure was him.

She could still feel her heart beating in her chest, but she felt like the rest of the world and time itself had stopped. Nothing made sense. She sat and stared into the flames in the gas fireplace. At some point she fell asleep and woke up when the morning sun shone through the trees outside and onto her face.

The memory of the night before hit her once more. The man she loved had abruptly decided to dump her on the first day of their Christmas holiday. The shock had worn off enough that she now felt a fiery rage building up inside of her. How dare he decide for both of them that their relationship was over without even telling her why! Thinking about it six months later her emotions were just as charged as they were back then. She had thrown her clothes back into her suitcase and flown home that day, leaving the gifts she had bought him on the counter.

Her mother’s cleaning service had later contacted her to let her know they had found several packages while cleaning the cabin and had placed them in a box in the closet. She hadn’t been back to the cabin until now, so she knew the gifts were still waiting for her to deal with them.

Memory opened the closet door. Her stomach and chest felt tight, but she needed to do this. She pulled the box of packages wrapped in shiny paper out and walked to the kitchen counter. She had decided to donate the items, but she wanted to unwrap them first.

She started taking boxes out and unwrapping them. She opened a pair of gloves first, followed by a blue sweater and a pair of wool socks. The last gift she opened was the one she had been the most excited about. She tore the shiny red paper off to reveal a beautiful box covered in soft black leather. She opened the box to reveal the gold watch he had seen in a shop the previous summer while they were on vacation together. He had fallen in love with it. She went back to the shop by herself to buy it for him. She knew he would be proud to wear the watch to the law firm he worked at where he always felt underdressed. He was paying off his student loans as quickly as possible, so he refused to buy himself expensive clothing or accessories of any kind. The gold watch became blurry and Memory realized she had started to cry.

Angry at herself for not being able to power through this task, she grabbed a piece of wrapping paper, crumpled it up, and threw it in the box that had held the gifts…which she now realized was not empty. The small box wrapped in brown paper had been almost unnoticeable in the corner. Memory remembered seeing the box in the bedroom the last time she was here. She decided to open it to see if she could tell who it belonged to.

She tore off the brown paper and found a small blue box inside. There was also a note in the package. The note read: “I cannot imagine living the rest of my life without you. Please marry me. Love, Mark.” She stared dumbfounded at the note for several moments like she was attempting to read a message in hieroglyphics. At some point her senses returned and curiosity about the box overtook her.

Memory opened the blue box to find a breathtaking sapphire ring. It was exactly the ring she would have chosen if she had searched the earth to find exactly what she wanted.

After finding the ring and the note she was completely confused. Why would a man buy a ring for a woman he was planning to dump? Had he planned to propose and changed his mind at the last minute, forgetting the ring? He could’ve used his key to get the ring from the cabin after she had left. She had so many questions, but it was her outrage at the whole situation that caused her to walk to her phone, pick it up, and dial the number she had given up on reaching anyone at almost four months ago. She had called and texted a few times at first, but she refused to give up her dignity to be a “psycho ex girlfriend.” This time someone answered the phone, but it wasn’t Mark. It was a woman. “Hello?”

“Great”, she thought. “It’s his new girlfriend.” The anger flared up in her chest and she hung up the phone.

Memory spent the next hour crying, feeling better, then crying some more. She felt like she had “gotten over” what happened with Mark, but she now realized that she had pushed on with her life and avoided actually dealing with the hurt and anger of being abandoned for no apparent reason. When she felt like she could face talking on the phone again she called Mark’s number again. Again, a female voice answered: “Hello?”

“Is Mark there?” She tried to sound as professional and detached as possible. The woman might not even know who she was and she was not responsible for Mark’s behavior.

“I’m sorry,” the woman said hesitantly, “I am Mark’s sister Beth. Mark died six months ago.”

Memory felt like she had been hit in the stomach by a battering ram. All she could say was, “What?”

“I’m sorry,” said the woman, “did you know Mark? I take it you didn’t know about his passing.”

“I hadn’t heard,” was all Memory could manage to choke out through the lump in her throat.

“He died just before Christmas when his car slid off an icy road in Montana. He was on vacation, but he had been called back to work to help finish up a case. The authorities believe he was texting while he was driving. I don’t know all of the details, because my parents received his property after they found out about his death. He and my father had a falling out over his chosen career path several years ago and things escalated until Mark felt like he was no longer part of the family. He stopped taking everyone’s calls. We only found out about his death when my parents tried to find him about a month ago. They wanted to reconnect with him. We are all devastated about all the time we wasted while Mark was alive when we could have reached out instead of trying to give him space. How did you know my brother?”

The entire world dropped out from beneath her feet. She felt like she was spinning. She was vaguely aware that she had dropped her phone, and that she was now standing in the middle of the cabin staring blankly out the window. She should have known. He never would have done that. That’s not who he is. He would have told her face to face. He is a good man...was a good man. At that moment she realized her lifelong fear of abandonment had hijacked her brain and kept her from seeing what was real. He was hers until the very end.

Short Story

About the Creator

Dawn Salois

Mother of a wonderful son. Writing is a relatively new passion of mine. I love to create my own images. Self-published author of Shadow and Flame.

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (4)

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  • Hamza Shafiqabout a year ago

    very nice

  • Gina C.about a year ago

    I felt so many emotions while reading this story and truly enjoyed it. I loved how her name was "Memory", very creative and poetic. This is a really engaging piece and from the minute I began reading it, I had to know how it ended. Very well done! ❤️

  • Dr. Constance Quigleyabout a year ago

    In all honesty, Dawn, this was a very powerful and emotional read, and I found it difficult not to be moved by it. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I really enjoyed the direction you took. It is a pleasure to subscribe to you and look forward to reading more from you.

  • Amy Hall2 years ago

    I enjoyed reading this piece, well done! I subscribed to you! I am just starting out and would very much like if you have time to read some of my work and if you like it please subscribe! I look forward to reading more of your work!

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