The Box

On the eve of my twenty-first birthday, I waited in front of the Harvard Bookstore for one of my best friends. I had many thoughts running through my mind: graduation, grades, coursework, summer plans and most importantly, my life path. My fingers were freezing as I realized that I had forgotten my gloves at home, very typical of me.

Hurry up.

I am not a very patient person, and yet I keep getting tested. Most of my friends put me through the test so many times, and I have tested their patience as well. At this point, the cycle seems fair and continuous.

Hurry up.

Finally, I see a big-eyed, curly, black haired girl running towards me as the wind pushes her hair into her face.  The sight of her made me smile as I remembered why we got along so well. Our rationalities and philosophies on life troubled everyone else, but to us, they made absolute sense. Our clumsiness and indecisiveness drove everyone around us insane, but to us, it was just the perfect way to live. 

“I’m so sorry, I missed the T. Why weren’t you waiting inside?”

“I was really excited to see you,” I replied.

“Me too! I’m so happy to see you! Let’s go to L.A. Burdick.”

We walked over to our favorite coffee shop, crossing fingers that we would get a seat. Once we found one, there was no chance that anything could get us out of there for another three hours. Yes, we were those people.

“Hey hey hey birthday girl. We are going to have so much sugar today that we will go into a sugar-high coma. Can we have one chocolate mousse cake, two coffee macarons, one dark hot chocolate, and – Shikha, which one do you want?”

“Wow, I hope that we don’t pass out. Um, regular hot chocolate?”

“I’m warning you that it’s super sweet. Ok, can you add the regular hot chocolate? Don’t get off the seat or else we will lose it.  Do you want us to stand in the cold?”

“No, that sounds awful, but can we just split it?“

“No Shikha, STAY ON THE SEAT.”

Ten minutes later….

“Ok, spill it. You are going to be twenty-one. How do you feel?”

“Nothing,” I responded.

“Yeah, that’s how I felt – nothing, absolutely nothing.”

“I feel like I’m supposed to have everything figured out.”

“Uh, like what? Career? Tomorrow? Life?  Those who have everything figured out haven’t really lived life.”

“That’s a very serious assumption.”

“It’s true – look at them! Look at all of them! You want to be like that? I mean I’m sure it would help us relieve our anxieties if we knew everything or if we could even plan everything. I don’t have anything figured out. So, you are not alone. I mean the way we both ended up here isn’t normal. Our paths aren’t supposed to be traditional in any sense.”

“I guess that’s why were are friends?”

“For sure! Can you imagine having a straight path? How boring would it be! Do you think you would be experiencing life? Paths are supposed to be curved, not straight.”

“I guess, but it’s so hard. Everybody seems to live in this box with the ideas and have the same the routine until they die.”

“Do you want to live in a box?”


“Do you want to die doing the same thing for the rest of your life or do you want to die looking back at your life in admiration for everything you have done?”

“Obviously the latter…”

“Then throw the stupid box away in the thrash.”

We both took a sip of our not-so-hot chocolates anymore, and I felt repulsed by the sweetness of my drink.

“This…is…too…. sweet…. I think I just got three cavities in the past like five seconds.”

She rolled her eyes in dismay and responded, “I warned you…Maybe you should listen from time-to-time.”

That didn’t stop us from going into a sugar coma, and cleansing our palettes with Turkish coffee from Café Algiers.