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the cardboard box

March 31, 2012

Amy met Beatrice and Claire at a class on writing the novel. The class was held two consecutive Saturdays at Rice University. On the second day, in one of the discussions the students had about finding writing prompts and support groups and whatnot, Beatrice had mentioned that she was involved in an online writing group.

This caught Amy's attention, as she was always interested in corresponding with fellow writers and welcomed the possibility of making new friends, so at the conclusion of the class, Amy approached Beatrice to inquire as to whether they could exchange emails, and could she possibly pass along her email address to the woman who was overseeing the online group, should a spot ever open up. Beatrice consented to this, with the comment that she was really bad about checking her email. Amy smiled and said that she was pretty bad about that, too. She tore off the top of the sheet of spiral-bound paper upon which she’d written her address and handed it to Beatrice. She hadn’t wanted a lot of interaction with the girl, but the occasional note would’ve been nice.

After Beatrice had left and Amy was getting ready to leave, Claire came to her and asked if they could exchange emails. Happily, Amy agreed. They chatted as they jotted down their contact information in each other’s notebooks.

And just before they left, Amy went to drop a bit of trash in the cardboard box the caterers had used for transporting boxed lunches, and there at the top of the trash, seemingly untouched, was the slip of paper upon which Amy had written her email address and given to Beatrice.

Amy felt as though a cold, blue, dense liquid was slowly, slowly coursing through her system, making its way down, down, down. And as it made its slow progression to her toes, she felt her spirits sag. She was cold and blue. But she was talking with Claire, who was being friendly, and she couldn’t quite allow herself to reveal just how cold and blue she’d become.

But she couldn’t keep herself from marveling at it.

Claire hadn’t thought too much of the incident. That perhaps it’d been a mistake. That Beatrice had dropped the paper in the trash by accident.

But Amy was too familiar with the methods of rejection. Of the cowardice with which that rejection was often accomplished. “I can’t believe how easy it is for people to throw others away.”

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