The most incredible thing happened to me. Really.
I was out back pulling amaranth, to dry it and then use it for dye later. The ground had frosted over night, so my toes were cold and the amaranth was a little wet. It peeled a bit where I gripped it, but it was mostly fine. I heard the dogs barking, so I knew someone else was around. I didn’t bother to check.
As I was piling up the amaranth, I saw Barbara walking towards my apartment with two white parcels in her arms. I said, “Ahoj!” to let her know I was outside. She asked how I was feeling. I was a bit stuffed up, but better. She said, “Christmas came early.” She handed me the two packages and took the junk mail off the top.
One package was small, in a white bubble envelope. The customs slip read, “book by Goat Island.” As I stood, making small talk with Barbara, my fingers worked their way under the tape, attempting to release the “book by Goat Island” inside. The other package was long and awkward. In fact, at further examination, the box was actually two boxes taped together, pretty genius. This double box was from Fave Bro, who worked at for a box company one summer in high school. That might explain his box savvy.
As soon as the friendly conversation ceased, I ran inside, put the boxes on the stairs as I pulled off my knee-high rubber boots and slipped on my “house shoes.” I picked up the boxes and dashed upstairs (I think I even skipped over a few steps). As I ran upstairs, I noticed things rattling inside the double box, and I thought, “assembly required.” I threw the boxes on my yoga mat (clean enough for this investigation) and began.
Because I had already pulled off most of the tape, I started with the “book by Goat Island.” I pulled off the tape, which allowed the envelope to go back to its original size. Then I pulled the tab, first from the opposite end, then I found the “pull here” indicator. And, what I found inside was a “book by Goat Island.” While I was at Dartington, I stayed with some people I found on www.hospitalityclub.org. Ian and Tracey (the people I stayed with) happened to also know Goat Island. Ian was going to their book release and offered to get me a copy. In Ian’s note, he told me the book cost 20 pounds (I only gave him 15), but that’s okay, I don’t owe him anything. Score! Then I thumbed through, just feeling the pages, and, WHAT?! The inside title page was signed by all of Goat Island and the co-editor Stephen Bottoms. But, I was too excited for the double box, “assembly required,” that I put down the book without reading through the inscriptions.
I went to my bedside table and grabbed my pocket knife. I began at the center. Fave Bro really learned a lot from that summer job. He exposed the adhesive on these two easy-to-send, pre-made boxes, and stuck them to each other. One sticky flap stuck to the other’s non-sticky flap, and the other’s sticky flap stuck to the original’s non-sticky flap! I decided against trying the easy-to-open pull tab, as it was pretty taped down. Just a good ol’ knife under the tape and ripping cardboard from cardboard released the “assembly required” materials.
And what did I find? WHAT DID I FIND?!
-5 regular fruit leathers
-2 double-the-price, organic fruit leathers
-2 boxes of Tasty Bite (newly purchased, not the boxes I gave him 3 Christmases ago)
-1 bag of candy corn
-3 handmade wooden spoons with a hanging rack. Made by Joe the Usher. (Mom and Dad only got 2 spoons for Christmas last year, and I made a big fuss about how much I loved them, how beautiful they are, and how I would really appreciate them like they deserve to be appreciated.)
-a list detailing the contents of the box, written with red marker (it also listed a key to his apartment, as I requested in a recent email)
-a note explaining, you know, stuff, written with black pen (and said that the hardware store was closed, so no key)
I assembled the spoons on the rack, and picked up the note. I got through the second paragraph, and then started to cry. And then, because the tear ducts pass through the nasal cavity, I blew my nose for a record-breaking length of time. I am not so stuffed up anymore. I finished reading and ate a fruit leather (regular, mango, there were two). It was delicious. I sat back and looked at the pile amassed on my yoga mat, “Incredible,” I thought, “Just incredible!”