Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What's in the Box?

The other day when I was out and about on my travels, a motorcycle passed me. On the back of the man's bike was a brown box strapped down. What was in the box?

I decided to write a story.

"I have a package to pick up," the biker said as he stepped up to the counter at the post office. He handed the worker the slip and waited patiently. He was dressed in his full bike riding gear: black leather vest showing off his tattoos on each arm, black boots, dark sunglasses, black leather pants with his gloves hanging out the back pocket and a bandanna on his head. He would fit in at a biker rally, but he stood out in line at the post office.

"Here you go, sir," the worker slid a small brown package across the counter to him. The word "Fragile" was stamped in red all over the package.
"Thank you, ma'am," he responded picking the package up carefully and headed to the parking lot. Since he was riding his bike, he needed to strap the package down on the back and hope that it didn't fall off. He was certain that what was inside would shatter to a million pieces if it fell off, and the package itself wasn't going to let him forget it. FRAGILE! 

Once the package was securely strapped to the bike, he climbed on and filled the air with the rumble of the bike. He loved that sound almost more than anything in life. Riding his bike made him feel so alive and free. Humming "King of the Road" by Rodger Miller, he pulled into traffic headed west towards his destination. 

It had been awhile since he had traveled this road and scolded himself as he moved in and out of traffic. He needed to be better and would work harder since he knew the importance of his visits.

Thirty minutes or so passed and the biker pulled into a quiet little neighborhood that looked like it was the set of Pleasantville; white picked fences surrounding perfectly manicured green lawns, window boxes full of colorful flowers and a few garden gnomes here and there. Once again, he stuck out like a sore thumb. The roar of his motorcycle seemed to be louder in the neighborhood and he could see people peaking through their lace curtains to see what the racket was.

He slowed down and pulled into the driveway of 714 Blue Bird Lane, he was sure that address was on Mr. Rodger's Neighborhood. As he unstrapped the package from his bike, he noticed the neighbor across the street hurrying inside her house with a slightly frightened look on her face.

With the brown package stamped with FRAGILE in red all over it in his hands, he walked up to the front door and rang the doorbell.

He waited patiently.

The door opened and he was greeted with a beaming smile from ear to ear from his 85-year-old grandmother. "Maxwell! Such a surprise!" she exclaimed as she slowly opened the screen door to allow him in. He couldn't help but notice how slowly she was moving from the last time he had visited. He once again scolded himself for not visiting as often.

"I brought you something Granny," he handed her the brown package, all of a sudden a little shy.
"Well now, you didn't need to do that. You coming to visit is enough of a treat."
"I know, but when I saw it, I knew you would enjoy it," he responded as they sat down at the small table in the sunny kitchen.
She tried to pry the tape off, but her hands were weak with age and she wasn't successful. There was an abundance of tape on the package, probably because the contents were so fragile!
"Here, let me help," the biker said flipping open his pocket knife with a snap. With a fast swipe, he had the flaps of the box freed from the tape. She slowly opened the package and pulled out several layers of bubble wrap and then finally the contents of the box.

The biker had ordered two porcelain  tea cups with saucers. He ordered one for her and once for himself.
Growing up, he had always enjoyed looking at his grandmother's collection of tea cups that she had proudly displayed. On special occasions or when he need it, she would let him pick one out and then they would sit at the table and share a cup while talking.

Once the tea kettle screamed in protest, the two of them sat across from each other with their hands wrapped around their fragile cups; his large, callused and tanned from the sun, and hers small, white, crooked from years of work and fragile.

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