"It's empty." He said as we stood shoulder to shoulder. I watched with eyes cast down, contemplating all the hype we give these moments, all the expectations that ultimately end in ruin.
When has reality mirrored my mind? When has the outcome exceeded my expectations and dreams? When have these things gone right?
I slowly came to a squat and brushed my fingertips against the jagged wood of the chest. I felt him sink beside me.
"I guess that means we fill it."
He took my hand and pulled me up, the warmth of our touch lost in the wind, my eyes somehow seeing what they've always seen, forced now, by my inevitable letdown, to take the sight for fact. We gathered up our things.
I helped him fill the box, did my best to contribute, but it boiled down to the fact that he had the most to add. He brought the nic-naks and souvenirs we could bury for decades; the things we want to remember but will come to forget. I hid the few I wanted, the things I couldn't bury, the things I need to keep though they haunt me with their memories and gather dust before my eyes. I slipped them in my bag as he hunched over, arranging the box.
He looked up at me and smiled.
I received it emptily, finding a disconnect with each article we piled in the box; drained of all empathy in the act of packing it away. He smile faltered for a moment. He stood.
"Would you say we're done? It's full."
I touched my bag lightly with my foot, an affirmation it was real. "I can't imagine what else we have to bury."
He smiled with heart and clamped the chest shut. "Let's throw it in the sea."
I let him take it, trailing behind, a melancholy seeping in with each step, the bag on my shoulder dragging me down and stopping my steps. He walked to the edge and heaved it over, letting go before I was near enough to watch it plummet and crash to a watery grave. He turned as I reached him, and smiled with ease.
I wonder who will find it. I wonder who will know. I wonder if the box will beat, if it will thump a rhythm of the lives contained from its place at the ocean floor, or creep its way underground to be dug up by a boy with a bike.
I turn to find him gone; I stand alone at the edge of the sea, knowing it won't be the same. The box is full but my soul is empty, save the pangs the weigh my purse. It's time to find another chest, to invest in another container and hope and pray there's something more within than air.
I've taken too much of me to fill more dead space. I've taken too much of me to have any to spare.