A Tale of Two Boxes
“What’s this?” thought Shona to herself as she opened the door to pick up the package the courier had left on the doorstep. The gentle chime that had alerted her to the delivery was a welcome excuse for a break from the screen. Life involved too much time staring at a computer these days, she thought - not for the first time. “Funny, I haven’t ordered anything. I wonder who sent this?” Curious, she weighed the packet in both hands. Not too light, not too heavy. The white waterproof mailer enclosing it had some symbols in green on it. Maybe that was a clue. She looked more closely at them - ‘sustainable source’, she read, then ‘carbon neutral, fully recyclable’ and ‘made from sugarcane.’ Whoever had sent this hadn’t used the usual recycled polythene mailers - she sniffed it just to check - noting the absence of that smoky odour that sometimes lingered on the contents of a recycled one. “Nice,” she thought, “I’ll re-use this one.” She reached for a pair of scissors to carefully slit open the covering, revealing a sturdy white cardboard protective box. No clues here. She gently shook the box from side to side, and felt something shift slightly inside. It didn’t rattle, and it was too deep for chocolates. Her curiosity grew. There was no tape sealing the box shut but it was held securely closed because the wings of the lid slotted into the sides of the box. “I can re-use this one too,” she thought. This was getting exciting! She slid her fingers under the flap to lift the lid, revealing a pewter-coloured box with a gentle sheen and silvered lettering. “Anna Juliet Creative,” she read aloud, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever. I know that’s Keats,” she said. “A gift! It has to be from one of my lovely children.” They lived far away now, flown the nest years ago, and visits were rarely possible. This year, impossible. “It’s most like Catriona to surprise me,” she thought. “Caitlin would have rung and checked every detail with me.”
Settling onto her comfortable couch, she carefully lifted the box and untied the matching grosgrain ribbon bow that held the box closed. The lid slightly resisted her fingers because of the magnetic closures and as she lifted the lid, she saw a card inside, atop the silver tissue wrapped gift. Gently placing the box on the couch beside her, Shona lifted out the card and glanced at it - a Certificate of Authenticity. Folding back the tissue revealed the first glimpse of the gift, brilliant colours and the unmatched shimmer of silk satin. “It’s beautiful,” she murmured to herself, carefully lifting it out of the box with both hands. She unfolded the scarf, letting its smooth richness flow gradually through her hands until she could admire the full length of it. “I love those colours - and my favourite flower too!” She swept the generous length of the scarf around her neck and waltzed over to the gilded mirror above the mantelpiece to see what it looked like on her, admiring the shimmer of the silk as she moved, doing a little pirouette, just because she could.