HumpDay Quickie #36

Posted: September 24, 2014 in Hump-Day Quickies
Tags: , , ,

The Gift Box

by Rebekah Postupak

On our first anniversary he gave me a spinning wheel that worked straw into gold. Useful, I thought, like blenders or crockpots, if not terribly romantic. Over time his enthusiasm for the gift only increased, despite the furrows the wheel’s gold threads sliced into my hands.

“Look at what we get out of it!” he’d say, eyes shining. “Isn’t it worth a little discomfort?”

On our second anniversary he gave me ruby slippers that could take their wearer and a companion anywhere in the world. Perhaps now we would enjoy the beach honeymoon he’d long promised? My hope glimmered. But we visited Monte Carlo instead, though the slippers rubbed my heels to the bone.

“Look at what we get out of it!” he’d say, eyes fixed on the dealer. “Isn’t this great fun worth a bit of pinching?”

On our third anniversary he gave me an apple tree whose languid branches produced sweet poisoned fruit. He dismissed my protests with a laugh, even as his despised colleagues fell and my lungs turned to ash as I gardened.

“Look at what we get out of it!” he’d say, eyes admiring his fresh-inked CEO business card. “Isn’t my success worth some unpleasantness?”

On our fourth anniversary he gave me a tiny creature, her delicate form perfection, along with a doll-sized diamond bottle for her cup and a hollowed-out black pearl for her bowl. Eyes oddly bright, he insisted on caring for her himself, though it was me she watched through her long lashes as she drank.

“Look at what we get out of it!” he’d say. “Haven’t you always begged for company?”

Eleven months later she has grown enough to use a baby’s silver cup.

“Aren’t you proud of her!” he says as she sips, queenlike, her eyes on me. “It’s hard, changing so fast.”

Our fifth anniversary lurks.

He is working feverishly in his shop; I am forbidden entrance. Something like triumph pulses in her face when she thinks I am not looking.

I have been working too. It’s a box, ornate, strong.

If I am smart, if I am quick, they will both just fit.

Or my name’s not Pandora.

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