Boxes | Chapter 4: The Housewife Box

Written by: Kevin Gatti

Standing in front of a mirror in her bedroom, Carabelle’s mom had a stern look on her face. She was annoyed, but that wasn’t unusual. Her current annoyance was with the chicken not defrosting fast enough for dinner. Carabelle’s mom pulled the chicken out of the freezer later than usual, but she would never admit that, not even to herself.

She began to speak to herself in the mirror. “Joyce, you had one job and that was to cook dinner for your family. Put a meal on the table! Sadly, you’re failing! Do better!”

She continued to stare at herself in the mirror, checking herself out to make sure her look was absolutely perfect, even though she had no plans to leave the house. She straightened out her Housewife labeled box and carefully examined her make up to ensure everything was perfect. She then stared for a couple seconds at the Housewife label on her box with pride and had a very slight smile.

That same smile disappeared as quickly as it appeared. “Joyce, you better hurry it up. You’re not going to look any good when you have no dinner at all. That chicken isn’t going to cook itself!”

Carabelle’s mom went downstairs and into the kitchen. To her surprise, she found both Carabelle and Sasha in there laughing loudly. They had just gotten back from their little escape in the park.

Immediately, Carabelle’s mom had a look of shock and confusion. “Girls, what’s going on here? What could possibly be that funny?”
“Nothing that you would find funny.” Carabelle quickly said back.

Sasha felt an awkward tension arise between and Carabelle and her mom. She saw it as an opportunity to make an exit. “I should be going. I’ll see you later, Carabelle.”

“Ok. Bye.” Carabelle said with a sad face as Sasha left.

After Sasha left the house, Carabelle’s mom quickly snapped towards Carabelle. “Why was Sasha here? I didn’t know you two were hanging out with each other?”

Carabelle was annoyed. “Why do you care? Is that a problem? Her mom is your best friend. Are you going to disapprove of me being friends with your best friend’s daughter?”

“I don’t have a problem with it. I didn’t know. I don’t know why you didn’t tell me.” Carabelle’s mom answered back.

“I didn’t know I needed to tell you, especially now that I’m 18.” Carabelle stated.

Carabelle’s mom proceeded to cook dinner without saying anything else on the topic. “Dinner will be ready soon. Let your father know.”

Carabelle said nothing and walked out of the kitchen to get her dad for dinner.

Carabelle’s mom grabbed the partially thawed chicken off the counter and tossed it into the sink. She started to rub the chicken in hot water to get it to defrost faster. As she was doing this, she started to stare out the window in front of the sink and thought back to her own teenage years around the time she had to make her big decision.

As a teenager, Carabelle’s mom stood in front of a mirror in her bedroom. She was getting ready for school when her mom walked in.

“Joyce, I’m watching you.” Her mother said with a serious look on her face from the doorway. This was her way of telling Carabelle’s mom that she knew everything and that nothing could get past her.

“I know mommy.” Carabelle’s mom simply said.

Carabelle’s mom was a very different teenage then Carabelle. She was very polite and obeyed all rules. Her own mom had successfully instilled in her mind that she was to do as she was told and nothing else. As a result, Carabelle’s mom always followed orders as they were given to her and never thought about taking her box off.

Carabelle’s mom as a teenage left her bedroom and followed her mom downstairs.

“Joyce, have you decided what you want to do in life?” Her mother asked as they got to the bottom of the stairs.

“I want to be a homemaker. I want to have a husband to serve and support.” Carabelle’s mom responded with serious conviction.

Her mother smiled. “Joyce, that’s excellent. A housewife box. Just like your own mother. You’ll do wonderful. Just make sure you’re doing everything as you should and that you remain perfect at all times.”

“Of course, mommy.” Carabelle’s mom replied.

Her mom continued, “Joyce, it’s important you don’t mess up. Don’t be a failure. You don’t want to disappoint me.”

“Mommy, I won’t. I promise.” Carabelle’s mom insisted.

Her mom quicky changed to a harsher tone. “Joyce, don’t promise me anything. We both know you’ll probably fail me. But don’t worry. I’ll always be here to keep you on your toes and to ensure that you’re always doing what you need to be doing. Always!”

Carabelle’s mom said nothing in return. She just nodded and then left for school.

A week later Carabelle’s mom was abruptly pulled from school because her mother had been tragically killed in a car accident. She was devasted and spent a whole day crying in her bedroom. Then in the middle of the night something strange happened. She suddenly stopped crying and walked up to mirror. She stood straight and tall in her box. She was emotionless, but firm. Nothing was said for about a minute, but then she began to speak to herself in the mirror, “Joyce, I’m still here. I told you that I would always be here. Look at you. So pathetic. Housewives don’t cry like this all day. They shed a few tears and then they move on. It’s their job to hold it together for the rest of the family. You still have responsibilities. You must make dinner. You must do laundry. You can’t be wasting your time crying.”

Carabelle’s mom continued to stare into the mirror without saying anymore. After about another minute, she then turned to her bed and crawled under the blanket. She leaned over to the lamp by her bed side and turned it off. She laid back down and easily fell asleep. Something had changed in her that day, and it would have a lasting impact for years to come.
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