I was about to throw the box out, when it suddenly opened for me.
The wooden box, which was locked, stuck for the last four years, was an eyesore on my desk that I would have gotten rid of long ago, were it not for the fact that I didn’t know what was in it.
When I picked it up and shook it, it jangled. Something was in there, but it wasn’t clear what. And this year, during my New Year cleaning, after wiping all the floors, I got tired of looking at old things that took up space. I was tired of looking at the locked box, and picked it up to chuck in the garbage bag. But just before I did, almost out of accident, I flicked the box latch.
Like magic, the box sprung open. I gasped when I saw the contents.
Inside, were the opal-and-gold earrings and necklace I’d received from my Dad 20 years ago, which had accompanied me to 5 different countries I’d lived in, that were so deeply treasured and had suddenly disappeared on me some years ago. They had weighed heavily on my conscience these past several years, as it forced me to question how I could lose something I valued so much, and wasn’t that a metaphor for the way I treated my gifts?
Inside was the beautiful white brooch that was a gift from my fellow writer friend, the ceramic brooch smooth to the touch.
There inside the box were my long brass earrings, gifted to me by my then-boyfriend, now beloved husband, which he chose for me specifically to help my short neck appear longer.
And finally, inside was my oldest piece of jewelry of all — a string necklace with a beautiful clear glass vial, containing sand shaped like stars and a single grain of rice with my name written on it.
I was thunderstruck. I felt like I was made whole. For all this time, I’d been searching and searching for this jewelry. I’d come to believe I would never find it again, that somehow I’d lost it because I’d gotten too wrapped up in the ordeals of daily life, and forgotten the core essence of who I was.
I’d searched high and low for these lost treasures of mine. I gave up on them. I forgot them, or tried to forget them, even though every few weeks my mind would drift back to the opals, the brooch, the earrings, the star necklace, wondering where they were.
“That’s where you were,” I said aloud, looking in tearful disbelief at the box, which I was just about to throw in the trash. “All this time. That’s where you were.”
Over the last four years, as an attempt to get past the storm that was my life. Just surviving, just getting through, just staying small and trying to stay out of the line of attack. My shoulders ache from all the times I attempted to shrink and disappear, not to be seen, because to stand out or speak out was the one thing I was not allowed to do.
And here, just as I had written and scheduled my resignation from the job that was the source of both my pride and heartbreak, the box — the locked box — opened up like magic.
Every once in awhile, there are moments when I feel that there is a gentle force watching over me. I was so surprised and moved. I feel like 2021 is going to be a more joyful year than ever, when I’m more in touch with my authentic self and I the two halves of me are put together and whole again.