The box had been delivered to her that afternoon and lay temptingly on her table. It wasn’t her birthday and she was beyond your regular curious to know what the big square carton contained. No matter what she did, the parcel kept drawing her gaze. When she pushed it gently, small things seemed to move inside, rattling and rustling as they brushed against each other in the confines of their paper prison. She ran her fingers on the outside, thrilling to the touch of the silky smoothness of the ribbon, eyes closed in concentration trying to figure out what treasures it held using only the power of her mind. Strangely, there was no return address so she wasn’t able to tell who it was from.
She had called him on the phone as soon as it came to ask if she could rip open the packaging and examine the contents. But he wasn’t even half as excited as she was. He asked her irrelevant questions about the box and then said no. A firm, absolute NO. She almost begged him to reconsider but he was not to be swayed.
He said that the box was too heavy for her to move. She had pushed it a little. It was a feather-weight box!
He said that she wasn’t as strong as she thought. She didn’t think so.
He said when he came home he would help her open the package. She wasn’t two years old!
He said that she could get injured. Opening a box?
He said the contents could be dangerous. Honestly? Who would want to hurt her?
He said that she should wait. For him to open her box??
He said she should keep herself occupied. When there was a package that had come for her?
He said he would be back soon. He bloody well should be, she thought.
He made her promise to wait. She agreed. Meekly. The sheer injustice!
He said. She did. Some days she got so angry with how he controlled everything she did. But most days, she was so tired that she was glad he had the reins to her life.
She sighed as she accepted that maybe he was right. Perhaps she wasn’t all that strong, some days she felt too weak to walk the short distance from her bed to the bathroom and he had to help her. But, today was a good day! She had even had breakfast on her own…and then napped till the doorbell rang and forced her out of bed…sigh…
She walked to the full length mirror that hung on her bedroom door and studied the woman staring back at her. She remembered how in the beginning, she loved looking at that mirror, watching as almost everyday the fat seemed to melt off her body. She had flirted naughtily with imaginary men and then ended things by flashing her wedding ring. She had never looked that good. She thought. But now, with that figure, she could have been a super model. She thought. She was tall and pencil thin. Just what the agencies wanted. She thought. Then. But, the weight loss didn’t stop. She couldn’t bear to look at herself anymore and asked him to take down the mirror. He had. Since the treatment began, she had become almost skeletal and lost all her hair. Her beautiful raven coloured hair. She had loved the way it made her look. But, it just fell off in bunches until one day he said she should shave it off because he thought she looked beautiful anyway. That’s when she asked him to put the mirror back up again.
Today, she was just as thin as ever and even though the frequency of her sessions had reduced, she hadn’t regained any weight. She was still skinny. But, that was alright she thought. What saddened her most was that there wasn’t even the slightest hint of fuzz on her head. It didn’t look like her hair was making a coming back. She missed her long hair. She turned away from the mirror and wished she hadn’t looked at it at all. Was she vain? Probably…but, any woman who said she didn’t care about the way she looked was a liar she thought.
She looked out the window and noticed the sky had turned a beautiful red. He would be back any minute. When she heard the key turn in the lock, she rushed to the door, scarcely giving him a peck on the cheek before pulling him towards her box. He laughed as he sat with her to open up her package. He pulled out a small box containing some fancy looking pens. There was a roll of handmade paper. A box containing little bits and bobs for her artwork. As he kept pulling out little things that she loved, she realized that the package was probably from him and grew more and more happy. Finally, she pushed the box a little and it felt empty so she sat back to examine her loot. What a haul! She was delighted. But, it wasn’t over. He put his hand in the box one last time and pulled out something long and black. She looked at it confused, before her eyes widened, registering what it was.
There in the light of the setting sun, she ran to the mirror, the one she had begun to loathe and put on the wig. She looked at herself and smiled. She looked beautiful again. She thought. She was the luckiest woman in the world. She thought. Who else would know what little things made her so happy? Who else would have thought of a wig?
She asked him why. He told her that he wanted her to feel beautiful again, even though he had never thought she was anything else. She looked at him with happy tears in her eyes.
He said he would do anything to see her smile like that. She said that she loved him.
Maybe she really was the luckiest woman in the world. She thought…no…she knew.
(This was part of a Flash Fiction challenge using five randomly generated words which were, figure, dusk, flirt, mobile phone and wig)