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Beauty in a Box
By Amber Halo
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
In a town, not far from where you live, it came to be that a black box grew as the center of attention for all the residents. Nobody knew just where the box had come from. Some said it was found by a child playing in the stream, others said it was the gift from someone passed on.
While there were those who said it had descended from heaven, there were others who said it had ascended from the furnaces of hell. Both the former and the latter had elaborate reasons to claim their position as accurate. There were still others who rebuked the both and said origin was trivial. What you make out of it, is what is important. So the people fought and bickered endlessly over this detail or that, but the simple fact remained: It was only a black box, and nothing more.
Eventually the box was placed on a pillar in the center of the town. People came and people went. Some folks spent quite a few hours staring at the box, without doing or saying a single thing. One person brought a set of paints, and created a somewhat ordinary rendering on one face of the box. Another person, more adept with knives than brushes, carved a devilish face on another side. A child broke it open and placed toys within it. A carpenter, obviously annoyed, fixed the box and sanded both the face and the painting off. A woman that nobody knew very well at all, painted many pictures of the box in different situations. Her paintings sold well, and one day she left the town. From that day on, renditions of the box would appear in strange places from time to time. In television commercials, billboards, and films. Songs were sung, and books were written.
It was one of the town elders who took the box away from the center of the town and first placed it on the table at town council. It was there that they pontificated late in to the night upon the significance of the box. Many eyes were wet that evening with emotion and a sense of longing. Offset were the angry eyes of the unbelievers. They still claimed the box was of foul intentions and that it should be disposed of immediately. Raised voices and raised fists roared on, well into the night. The box was far more to they, than just a box. The simple fact remained: It was only a black box, and nothing more.
It was declared that the box had changed their lives forever, and that from this day onward they would never be the same. Sweeping comments and oratories were presented for the assembled elders. At last, the first signs of dawn began to creep into the windows. With bags under their eyes, dry mouths, and husky voices they dismissed each other.
But in the end, they placed the box in the center of the table for all to see, and there it sat -- collecting dust.
Copyright © 2001 Amber Halo
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