Boxes | Chapter 6: The Yellow Box

Written by: Kevin Gatti

Carabelle was happy. Her new box matched her favorite flower – the sunflower. She seemed to be the only person unbothered by her new box. Her mom was making her eat all her meals in her bedroom as she couldn’t stand the sight of the yellow box. Her mom was also not allowing her out anywhere because she didn’t want anyone else to see the yellow box either.

Carabelle’s mom was clearly struggling to comprehend that her daughter was now in a yellow box. She was telling herself that it was a temporary situation. She was also scolding herself every time she walked past a mirror. “Joyce, you failed her. This is all your fault. If only you were a better mother.” She would say and then burst into tears. After about minute of crying, she would wipe away her tears and walk off with her usual stern posture.

You could leave it to Carabelle to still find a way to some sense of freedom. Sneaking out and enjoying fresh air was still a regular occurrence despite not being allowed to leave the house. About a week into having a yellow box, Carabelle was smiling gleefully as she walked down the down street on a sunny afternoon. Her phone started to ring. It was Sasha.

“Hey!” Carabelle answered.

Sasha paused for a moment before saying anything. “I still can’t believe they put you in a yellow box.”

“Oh, get over it!” Carabelle stated loudly. She was getting annoyed with people being hung up on it.

Sasha continued to speak. “Carabelle, it’s your life. I just care about you and want what’s best for you.”

“If you really cared you would let me do my thing and not try to force me into a box like everyone else is doing.” Carabelle said back.

Sasha felt that the argument was going nowhere, so she chose to change the subject. “So, when do you start that yellow box school, or whatever they call it?”

Carabelle’s eyes light up with excitement. “Tomorrow. I’m kind of exciting. Maybe I’ll meet other like-minded people who refused to pick a box too.”
Sasha didn’t like what she was hearing. “You’re excited? I would be mortified. You may be the only person there. Carabelle, other than my crazy uncle, you’re the only person I have ever known personally that was in a yellow or red box.”

“Okay. So, what?” Carabelle replied downplaying the seriousness of the situation.

Sasha was annoyed. “I got to go. Call me tomorrow afterwards. Let me know how it goes.”

“Okay.” Carabelle said as they ended the call.

The next day, Carabelle’s dad dropped her off at an old school building. There was barely anyone there when she entered. Inside she was quickly moved into a small classroom with bars on the windows and locked doors. The classroom was basically like a prison cell. Initially, she was by herself, but then four others in yellow boxes entered the classroom.

After waiting for about twenty minutes in the classroom, a woman with a Teacher labeled box entered the room. She wasted no time before beginning to speak. “Greetings everyone.” She also talked really loud and slow as if she thought everyone in a yellow box was slow and couldn’t comprehend her otherwise. “My name is Ms. Betsy and I am your Last Chance teacher. Now, if you’re not aware, Last Chance is a newer program designed to work with individuals in yellow boxes such as yourselves. The goal is to hopefully turn you around and get you into the right box. It’s important you know that no one in this room is a failure… at least not yet.”

All five people with yellow boxes, including Carabelle had looks on their faces like they wanted to hit Ms. Betsy. Carabelle was annoyed and was thinking about how much she disliked Ms. Betsy even as she just met her.

Ms. Betsy continued to speak as she began to pace the front of the classroom. “Now, we want to work really hard here so no one ends up in a red box. I’ve been teaching this class for two years now and I have never had a student get a red box. I would like to keep it that way.”

Carabelle then randomly jumped in. “Honestly, I actually think I may look good in red box. I think I would look really cute. Just saying.”

Ms. Betsy’s left eye twitched as she stared Carabelle down like she was a virus threatening to disturb an entire social structure and everything she knew to be real. She started to slowly move closer to Carabelle until she was right up in her face. “You must be Carabelle. They told me about your dry, unfunny humor. Let me tell you something. That ends right now, or I’ll personally make sure you end up in a red box. I’ll proudly make you my one red box exception.”

The tension was extremely high and there was complete silence in the room. Then suddenly Ms. Betsy started to laugh hysterically. “Now, who wants to talk about careers?! Who wants to be an accountant?! Now that’s lots of fun!”

As no one laughed along with Ms. Betsy, she noticed a young guy in a yellow box sitting at a desk along the wall who was starting to fall asleep. She walked over to him and kicked his desk. “WAKE UP!” She yelled as he jolted up and looked at her with an alarmed look on his face. “There is no sleeping here. Sleeping is for yellow boxes. We are all going to rise above our yellow boxes. We’re not lazy slackers here. Right?” No one responded or even really looked towards Ms. Betsy. Nonetheless, she continued to berate the young guy who was sleeping. “Stand up.” She said to him. He stood up and looked around like there were about billion other places he would rather be at that moment. “What’s your name?” Ms. Betsy asked him.

“Theo.” The young guy replied.

“Oh, Theo. They told me about you too. Why don’t you want to be a doctor just like your father? You would be a great prospect to be arranged to a nice housewife, just like your father was?” Ms. Betsy explained.

These words triggered Carabelle and confused her. As Theo was struggling to answer the question, Carabelle raised her hand and interrupted. “Excuse me. Did you say, arranged to a nice housewife? Do you mean housewives are assigned to someone in an arranged marriage?”

Ms. Betsy started to walk back towards Carabelle. “Yes. That’s exactly the case. Being a housewife is a very nice career. When you choose that career, you get assigned a nice man to marry. But the role comes with great responsibility. You must care and tend to the house and family. One of the greatest responsibilities in our great society.”

A girl in a yellow box sitting next to Carabelle was quietly chuckling at Carabelle for not knowing that housewives were in arranged marriages. This was all news to Carabelle. She was learning for the first time that her parents were an arranged marriage based on the career her mom choose. A secret her parents had kept from her.
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