Aunt Reim’s Box of Mystery

Unopened boxes are mysteries. At least to me, they are. There is a promise waiting inside – a promise of happiness or disappointment. It’s like magic waiting to happen… waiting for the proper revelation. The right person opens boxes; I am one of the right persons.

My Aunt Reim loves to read and collect books. I didn’t know this about her before. How was I to know? She was the quiet one among the five Lombardo siblings. She could go on for hours without making any sound. She hardly talked about herself. She was just plain cagey… Sometimes, her big round eyes were the only moving parts of her face. She wears a poker face. You couldn’t tell that there is more to her.

I discovered about this curious side of Aunt Reim one afternoon. It was when a dusty cardboard megabox caught my eye. There was a rushed scribble of my Aunt’s name on one cover flap – “Reim’s” it read. It was there at the bottom of three more stockpiled megaboxes.

Eager to find out what’s inside and also, to find out more about mysterious Aunt Reim– the things she likes, the things she prefers… the things she keeps… I ferreted through all the boxes, until I reached the one at the bottom. I undid the folds – left, right, top, bottom… Lo and behold! A hoard of pocket books! How does one possess so many books? I’ve only read about stacks of books… and libraries full of books!

So many… how could Aunt Reim have that many books and not tell anyone about it? There were classics… political novels, adventure novels, epic stories, love stories, romance novels, “banned books”, “required” books… controversial pieces… an essential lot… No wonder she keeps to herself. She has enough entertainment in the privacy of her own room. Books were her personal amusements. Aunt Reim must have had a clandestine bookish affair!

Forbidden indulgences are secrets, so is an affair. No wonder… no wonder…

I realized that I found treasure. What utter joy! I’m an archeologist who found her dig of a lifetime; I’m a pirate who unearthed a treasure chest from some unchartered island… somewhere on the other side of the world; I’m a gambler who won the jackpot…

I could have exclaimed Eureka!

Boxes are mysteries. ‘Tis great to have cracked a mystery.

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