Monday, January 20, 2014

The Cardboard Box - Chapter One The Dream..... A Short Story.................by Diane Ogden


Chapter One:   The Dream:

It was a warm sunny day near the boundary waters in upper State Wisconsin. I was raised in that small town U.S.A. much to my regret.  You see I always wanted to go where the big city lights shined in every direction I looked.  Just seeing them on TV and in movies gave me the glitterbumps.  I loved anything that gave off a reflection of silver, gold, and diamonds.  Real or otherwise the brilliance of any bright city lights reminded me of a million diamonds lighting my way to come and get them.

I was working at a small Real Estate Office in town.  Answered the phones, took messages, and screwed the owner on occasion.  That seemed to be in my job description so I did it.  Weren't too many places to make enough money back then and I had my sites set on a big city somewhere. So I just did what I needed to do to get where I wanted to go.  The first year I made enough to buy myself the beautiful almost new Pink Cadillac.

Mercy alive I loved that car almost as much as I loved the Pink Suit I bought to match it.  And I shant forget to mention my perfectly coordinated pink shoes and purse. 

It was that year  I met Harper.  Harper Rutherford II.  Nice boy he was.  Courted me properly for some time and then gave me the biggest diamond I had ever seen.  Almost as big as the lights on one street in the big cities of my mind.  I never forgot my dream to leave and make my way where the lights called my name every day of my life. Bright big city lights was the backgound color palette of my mind. But pink would always be my favorite.  Maybe it was because it reminded me of something soft and gentle among all the muck I had experienced growing up.  Pink represented my freedom.

Daddy died early on and Mama wasn't much of a Mother figure.  She was more like a bad sister so I pretty much raised myself.  School wasn't easy for me.  Teachers made the statement I was lazy.  Shoot I wasn't lazy at all.  I just didn't always get it and I hated the way the teachers made fun of me so I dreamed of other things in life.  Things that took me away from the harsh realities I had lived through.  Harper did that for me  too.  He was always laughing.  I really loved Harper, but maybe not enough.  I think I just agreed to marry him because I started to have feelings that frightened me.  Bad men had been part of my surroundings most of my growing up years and things didn't change much until I met Harper.  Even my teachers tried to invade the private parts of my being.  I was a person locked inside an empty box.  Was it self made?  I do not believe a child can mold her own future or create how own empty box? No. I rather believe it was grown out of and from the comings and goings of each un-evolved individual that came and went from my basic daily life.  And the invisible box was my safe haven I had filled with an imaginary life.  Even though I dreamed of the freedom of the bright city lights, I remained locked in cardboard box.

Harper and I decided we would get married at the Judge's office on Main Street.  I know that seems odd considering one would think I would have moved mountains to wear the fanciest dress and decorate a country club with sparkling lighted stars hanging two inches apart about the entire ceiling.   Glitter covering the white linen tablecloths with eggshell floating candles and glistening sprays of silver coming out of their glass coves looking like a fountain aglow. Also in my fantasies were low lit ice sculptures in hues of soft pink.   White ostrich feathers caressed the base vases filled with bouquets of cream and white colored flowers. The band members were dressed in crème colored tuxedos with one pink rose on each lapel while playing big band music that we danced to until midnight.  To top the entire affair, each guest received a gift box and inside was a small white rose tac pin with one diamond set in its center to represent our heartfelt forever thank you to all who shared our wedding day.  The tac pin was an appropriate gift for a man or a woman.  And outside was my beautiful pink Cadillac waiting to wisk us away to New York City for two glorious weeks with all it had to offer.

Harper was someone who I could depend on.  Stable was the only way to describe him. A financial banker on his way to owning his own private office someday.  He was an amazing man. 
Considering our financial state of affairs at that time and per our discussions, I agreed to be married at Judge Oliver Swazy's office.  The Judge was a family friend of the Rutherford's.  So it was to be, the marriage of Harper John Rutherford to Julianna Jordan Rowe, come April 24th, 1966 in small town USA, with no frills or fancy anything.

I woke up early the morning of April 24th, my wedding day, from a disturbing dream.  In the dream I was stuck in a cardboard box.   But only the upper portion of my body was in the box, yet that didn't really seem weird as dreams go.  I was trying to get out of the box by stabbing its sides with a screw driver over and over .  After waking up and thinking what seemed a silly dream....I did ponder why I couldn't get out of the box.  After all it was just cardboard.  Not a real wood box where I had been nailed inside.  I set the dream aside and went about business of the day.

After some breakfast with tea, I again forgot about the dream and carried on about getting ready for my office marriage vows.  I was not able to call it a wedding.  I fixed up my pretty blonde hair, put on my pink suit, pink shoes, and changed from my everyday purse into the coordinating pink one.  I will say I did look very pretty.  But I was not excited.  Why?  What was wrong with me?  I drove my beautiful pink Cadillac downtown and was about to turn into the driveway of the Judge's office when I recalled the rest of my dream.  In the dream I had stopped to visit an old friend named Tanya.  She always represented someone who fought for whatever she wanted and worked very hard to achieve it.  Then in the dream I drove to the Judges office but the road was barricaded off, closed, and torn up.  I was stopped dead.  I went so far as to park the Cadillac whereas I then tried crawling over the planks that had been placed across the road for the workers.  Under the planks was a frightening large open hole.  It was then I realized the dream was a forewarning not to get married and not to force myself into such an important life step.  I truly wanted to move to the big city lights and make it on my own. 

I also knew the cardboard box in the dream represented small town USA and fear of leaving it.  I was marrying Harper out of fear.  And Tanya represented the strength I had all along that I needed to use to achieve my dreams.  The street being all torn up and the barricade was trying to stop me from making a life mistake.   I listened to the spirits that sent the dream and I heard them loud and clear. Then I had to tell Harper.  And I thank God I did not have a the fancy expensive dress, the pink ice sculptures, the expensive flowers surrounded by ostrich feathers, the Pink Champagne and so on.  No, what I had to deal with was merely a small Lawyers office that needed painting, two men, Swazy and Harper, and the witness who was Swazy's secretary.   Harper was devastated but he understood I would have never been happy.  And so it was on that same day I walked out of the dull office with its dirty walls and I drove away from Harper.    

Later that year I had saved enough money to move to New York City.  I packed my pink suit and everything else I could stuff into my car.  Oliver at the local Mobil station offered me one final safety check on my beautiful Pink Cadillac, along with a big hug and I was off.  Out of the box, out of small town USA, away from the users and abusers.  Oh, I knew there would be more.  But I also knew I had someone above who would send me a dream to help me when I needed to change direction. 
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