The smaller box was about the size of a jewellers box and looked like a hastily wrapped Christmas present. Remarkably it had her name on it and looked easy to open. She slid it open and sighed.
Nestled in the small ring box was a wad of gaudy tissue paper. Initially Lucy thought it was empty but as she picked it up and shook it something small fell almost under her bed. She bent down to retrieve it. She held it in a pincer grip under the light and examined it. It was a brass looking representation of an angel, about an inch high. Not exact enough to be a brooch but not small enough to be a pin. Lucy turned it over expecting to see a made in Taiwan stamp, so cheap did it appear.
She stifled her disappointment. Since the arrival of these boxes months ago people were claiming their lives had been transformed. Some had given up work. Others had seemed to come into money very suddenly. Some had even taken the opportunities to throw off the shackles of an unsatisfactory marriage.
Trust her to get the dud. The booby prize. The cheap last cracker toy. She didn’t even believe in angels or Heaven and Hell. And if there was a God he was taking his sweet time coming to her rescue, in her opinion. Still, better keep it close. Who knew, it might bring some luck, and she tucked it into her pyjama pocket and went to sleep.
The next morning as she reluctantly opened her eyes and mentally calculated what lessons she had that day, Double French, yuck, very little seemed out-of-place. At least it was Friday and she could have a sleep in the next day or a morning in bed if she could get away with it. Her Father seemed unusually chipper as she sat down for breakfast, offering to cook for her and ruffling her hair. Wincing out of the reach of his hand and calculatedly treading the line between being out of his favour and getting some cash to buy sweets at the corner shop, she gathered her things together and iPod ear phones stuck firmly in shouted her goodbyes.
As she opened the front door she almost fell in again in surprise. There leaning against the door jamb and smiling down at her, was a young boy. He looked to be about the same age as her but there the similarity ended. She couldn’t help gasping and tried to turn it into a hasty cough. It was as if someone had taken all her boy band fantasies and rolled them up into one person. He was beautiful. She was confused for a second, asking herself why the postman was still staring at her and not handing over the post with a snarl like he usually did. But coming out of her reverie she realised he most definitely wasn’t their postman.
He still hadn’t spoken. Just stood there smiling and nodding, as if it was an everyday occurrence for a handsome boy to be on her doorstep. Debating inwardly that he must have the wrong house, she offered up a small “hello”. “Hi Lucy, I’m Michael. I was told to meet you here today”.
“As wonderful as that all is, Mike”… “Its Michael” he repeated firmly shaking her hand. “As wonderful as that all is, Michael, how do you know my name and why are you here?”. Lucy was baffled by his manners and starting to wonder what she was letting herself in for.
“Don’t you know?”, he asked in surprise. “Didn’t you get my box?”. “That was from you?”. “Of course, you didn’t think some strange alien had dropped it out of his spaceship did you?”. Eyebrows raised, she had the feeling he was amused with her. She wasn’t sure she liked the sensation. “Of course not. Look, lovely as it is standing here chatting some of us have school to go to”. “But don’t you want to know why I sent you the box?”. “If you want to tell me I’ve no objection to hearing it but make it quick, Mrs. Ferber is a right old stickler for punctuality”.
“It’s because you were lonely” he said simply. “That’s why I came, I couldn’t bear it any more, you not knowing how much you are loved”. Deciding he had completely lost the plot she hoisted up her rucksack without saying another word and pushed past him. “Lucy, wait, Whats wrong?”. Ignoring him she made her way up the road. He caught up with her at the junction and grabbed hold of her arm. He turned her around, her face was streaked with tears.
“Why would you say something ridiculous like that?”. “What makes it ridiculous?” he replied kindly. “You believe you have no value and you believe everyone else is more important. But you believing that doesn’t make it true.”. “Who are you? she pleaded.” “Lucy, I’m Michael, like I told you. I’ve known you always, even before you were born. Lucy, I’m your angel.”
Till next time.
PS, this is the second part of A box by any other name.