It was meant to be a lunchbox but only held sea shells. Every holiday, every cousin, every friend and family outing- you go to the beach of course.
A natural tendency; geography ruling people. We never left till sunset, poor lighting makes for bad pickings but makes your haul look great. Maybe you need exhaustion to appreciate sea shells, possibly reaching unconscious poetry collecting the remnants of the dead while the sun sets before an endless ocean. A treasure chest was an inevitable requirement.
Somehow the shells kept piling on, I kept them meticulously, neatly while my cousins threw them away. Where? They could not remember. The box grew heavy, the shells broke under their own weight, faded and rotted away. I would hesitate to open the box anyway, I don’t know why.
Now and then I had to open it, sand always got out, where did it all come from? I lost the box and memory of where it went long ago, and I live far away. Still the smell of the sea always remained in my memory and the box while the shells decayed.
That summer we stayed with her aunt who smelt of cut grass and ghee. We walked the beaches, pretend nomads with face scarfs till a dog rushed out of a patch of wild flowers and begged for a game. Bored cattle strayed past, watching the sea while grazing. That night the sea’s breeze and scent carried through the window. The dog sat happy after the meal we gave him. She put on some music and the dog tried to bark in tune. She danced till her footsteps on the hardwood floor was all I could hear. When I woke up the french windows were open, she had a flower under her foot and a smile on her face.