Mosaics covered the box, hinting at secrets within, tantalizing the senses with the shimmering inlay, the carvings of a world so far away from her own. Her parents brought it back with them from the Middle East, a gift from the Holy Land, holy by association. Inside had been a clay model of ancient ruins, a trinkety shallow fragment of their memories there.
She opened the box and smelled the cheap velveteen lining. The desert scent lingered, dry and dusty despite leaving it on the window of her apartment in upstate Oregon. A whiff of history and no more. She closed the box and returned it to its place, next to the other curios that defined the life she wished she had.
Surrounding herself with memories of other lands, capsules of other peoples’ memories, she could forget the blandness of her life. She could link like a Persian princess than a life insurance agent, surrounded by gifts from princes rather than forms and files. A fantasy that reflected the workings of her inner life. She preferred not to think of the filth and ignominy of history when she traveled such fantasies.
The scent of the desert remained, following her as she got ready for the long day ahead. It made the train ride to work all the more dismal as the humidity ruined her hair. It the scent made her throad dry as she tried to give a presentation on the monthly earnings of her division. Coughing her way through the looses and gains of the company, she explained their relationship with despair and misfortune. The scent rebuked her for the shallow grayness of her life.