Youth Voices

Pandora Box

By Rikza Saliha


I touched the little box in my hand and smiled. In that velvet, gold lined box that lived under my bed were bitter-sweet memories from summers past. I dared not to open it for fear of what I may find, the feelings that might resurface. I opened it slowly and gently, careful not to startle it. The first thing that caught my eye was the brown, battered envelope that I’d never opened. As I opened it, I heard a buzzing sound, I looked up and saw a honey bee banging itself into the patio glass, I thought it would fly away after one knock, but it kept on flying straight at it and banging its tiny head again and again and again. I thought this peculiar but as I thought upon it I realized that tiny honey bee with wings too small to fly with flew so ferociously at the thing that hurt it repeatedly.

I opened the letter quickly before my fears got too big to handle, the straight cut writing made me nauseous at first, I got a grip on myself and started reading.

“Dear Sophia,
I hope when you read this letter you are over the bitterness and the resentment. I don’t know if you ever forgave me, and I know I should have thought about you and me and all the troubles and taboos we’d have to fight.” I stopped reading, went into the kitchen and washed down a glass of water. What was I doing by going through memories of the past? I went back into my room and began reading it again. “I hope you have now found someone better than me, someone who gives you everything I did not. And I just want you to know that even though I left you, I still suffered just as much as you did, when you told me you were going back to Alabama I was crushed, we were so near yet so far apart, I’ll always regret us never meeting. We could never have stayed together and it’s a miracle how long we did. Deep down I knew it was too good to be true; things like this don’t happen to people like you and me, they happen to those who can feel the full force of their love and can allow themselves to show the world their love for one another. We found something that is greater than most, something that you will find again, of that I am sure and whether you believe it or not that is why I let you go so swiftly. Our similarities couldn’t outweigh our one major difference and for that we both suffered in our own way. Sometimes I used to think I wasn’t good enough but when I saw how much it upset you I tried to push it to the back of my mind, I remember on our one year anniversary I told you I didn’t think I was good enough and I remember later on you told me how upset you were about me saying those bitter truths. Except, you didn’t call them bitter truths but they were mine and I know you had your own.

We used to dream of getting married and even having children, we didn’t talk of any other plans after marriage, no travelling, no parties…just a family. I guess somewhere along the line we realized that it wasn’t possible to have it all, and I remember when I left you the first time, you asked me where we were heading and I guess you knew we were drifting apart purely because of the fact that we could never have been accepted. You were angry but then I didn’t hear from you, I woke up one day and realized that life without you had become something of a chore and so I wrote to you, as a friend but you were pained and didn’t listen, I admitted I never stopped loving you but I just wanted to be friends even though we both knew we could never be just that. So our relationship rekindled its flame, you wanted to talk about it but I hushed you, I didn’t want to talk about the past maybe it was too painful for us both. We pushed through but ultimately we had always known that we’d both end up heart-broken one day. I know you’d had enough pain in your life and so I thought better now then later and with that I let you go.
-your loving heart, Victor.”

 I put the letter down and went to take a shower, the water was cold, and it reminded me of the shower I took just after my worst nightmare had come true.  I stepped out of the shower and opened the book that I was reading earlier, the words were in front of me, I could hear them in my head but they held no meaning or importance so I put it back down and went to the balcony. I breathed in the strong country air and thought myself blessed I had everything I had ever wished for. Not quite everything.

I looked ahead and saw a young couple, walking hand in hand, I looked a little further and saw a toddler struggling to walk on his young legs, she turned around to pick him up, their eyes met mine and I smiled and waved, they returned it with a tired grin. I turned to go back inside and as I did I saw the tiniest flicker of dusk.