Boxes | Chapter 8: Breakdown

Written by: Kevin Gatti

When morning arrived, Carabelle and her dad were waiting around in the living room. They were anxiously waiting for Carabelle’s mom to return. They had not heard from her. Carabelle’s dad was pacing frequently while Carebella just mostly leaned up against a chair. Carabelle was annoyed. She didn’t know the full details of what occurred between her parents, but she wasn’t surprised by what was happening. She figured that they didn’t really love each other anyway.

There was silence in the living room. Then Carabelle asked abruptly, “So is it true you and mom don’t actually love each other. Because she chose housewife as a box, and you needed a wife, you picked her out like an apple at the grocery store?”

Carabelle’s dad stopped pacing and froze. He said nothing at first. He was shocked that he had asked that. Then after a couple seconds he said, “Who told you that?”

“Those yellow box classes I’m going to. I guess they aren’t all that great. They let you and mom’s secret out of the box.” Carabelle revealed.

Carabelle’s dad started to freak out but tried to downplay it at the same time. “That was your mother. She didn’t want you to know. I didn’t care. It’s normal. Everyone’s doing it. It’s just how society works. I couldn’t understand your mother with not wanting to tell you. I don’t know why it had to be a secret to you.”

“So, you’re okay with the fact that you chose mom, and she basically had no choice in the matter?” Carabelle said back.

Carabelle’s dad turned and pointed his finger at Carabelle. “Listen, she could have said no. I would have been okay with that. Most guys wouldn’t have been like that. I’m a nice guy. I wouldn’t have forced her.” He then started to cry.

Carabelle said nothing. She stood and watched her dad become emotional. She knew deep down that he knew the way society did things was messed up. She also knew that he had his own issues he was dealing with.  

Her dad continued to speak, “You got to understand. Living in the world isn’t easy. You can’t question things. You got to go with the flow, or you get labeled and tossed to the side like trash.” He paused for a second to take a breath. “None of the girls in the other boxes wanted me. That thought I was weird. I got to a point that I didn’t want anyone. I would rather be alone. But everyone was asking me why I was still single and when I was going to get someone. Then people started telling to get a housewife. It was all the time. Finally, I gave in, and I got a housewife.” He took another breath before going on. “That experience in itself was awful. They bring you into a room. There is a glass wall in front of you. On the other side they have housewives lined up. You have only ten minutes to pick one. They then give you an hour to talk privately to make sure there is chemistry. If everything seems at least okay they then rush you off to the courthouse for the marriage certificate.”

Carabelle gasped at hearing how ugly the situation really was.

Carabell’s dad then started to tremor and cried out, “IF IT WERE UP TO ME, I WOULD HAVE BEEN WITH A MAN!  …and I would have done it the right way. Dated and gotten to know them.”

It was obvious he had never said that before aloud. He fell to his knees and Carabelle quickly ran over to him. She got down on the floor with him and put her arms around his box.

Her dad continued, “When I picked your mother, I remember thinking about how I wanted to be with a man so badly. I remember thinking that these women may not have freedom, but at least they have acceptance. They can still live in this society. A man who likes men has neither freedom or acceptance. There’s no place for us. No role to play. We’re not suppose to exist.”

Carabelle hugged his box tighter. “You are suppose to exist. Don’t think that.”

Carabelle’s dad wiped away his tears from his cheeks. “I was in survival mode. I was doing what I felt I needed to do in order to survive. It was selfish, and it caused me to do a bad thing. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt your mom.”

Carabelle continued to hug and console her dad as the two sat on the floor of the living room.

Later that afternoon, Carabelle’s mom was still nowhere to be found. Carabelle skipped class for her yellow box that day because the stress of everything going on was overwhelming. Carabelle asked Sasha to come over. So, Sasha sneaked into the house and went up to Carabelle’s bedroom without Carabelle’s dad noticing.

What is going on?!” Sasha asked as soon as she entered the bedroom.

“A lot.” Carabelle said back.”

“I spoke to my mom. She hasn’t spoken to your mom since yesterday.” Sasha stated.

“Yeah. I don’t know.” Carabelle said as she felt helpless with the situation with her mom.

“So, what are you and your dad doing? Did you go to your class today?” Sasha asked.

“I don’t know what we’re doing. No, I didn’t go to the class today.” Carabelle replied.

Sasha was stunned. Her jaw dropped but could only go so far because of her box. “WHAT?! CARABELLE! They’re going to put you in a red box. Did you at least call them to let them know that you’re having a family emergency?”

“No. My dad doesn’t want anyone to know that my mom is missing. It will put her at risk of a yellow or red box. And we all know my mom can’t handle that.” Carabelle explained.

“So, what are you doing?” Sasha asked.

“I don’t know. Can we just take off our boxes and cuddle for a little bit? I need a moment to relax and think.” Carabelle said.

The two took off their boxes and got into the bed and started to kiss. Within seconds, the door to Carabelle’s bedroom opened and Carabelle’s mom entered and immediately started to scream at the top of her lungs.

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