Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The brown box
The brown cardboard box sits on the scratched, worn wood of the kitchen floor. Two black noses poke at the smooth clean sides, skim across the top where our address is hastily scrawled in black pen, investigate the clear tape holding it all together. In the top left corner the words The Kong Company are neatly stamped in faded black ink along with the return address of Golden Colorado.
The box fit neatly into the space of the large parcel compartment of our group mailboxes around the corner and down the road from our house. I found the key in the snow at my feet, the bright red plastic label it was attached to glaring up at me where it fell from the armload of papers and envelopes hauled out of our own compartment.
“Did you order something?” I asked Morgan, handing him the box as I returned to the car.
At home we are greeted by wagging tails and stomping feet and then we are forgotten as the box is placed on the floor.
Morgan reaches in, slices the tape with a knife. Three noses push aside box flaps and poke around crumpled papers holding in place boxes of treats, coupons and catalogues, a shiny new classic Kong rubber toy and a can of spray peanut butter.
We elbow in to the fray, pull everything out of the box, set it on the kitchen table, the table where Morgan sat just a few days after Christmas and announced, “Bear and I are going to write a letter to the Kong Company.”
The letter, I knew, would be about that ball, the squeaky one we gave Bear for Christmas that became unglued and fell apart within the hour and the squeaky green bone we got as a replacement that also fell apart after only a few good squeaks.
And so, the box.
She’s right of course, this time. The Kong is for seniors, all swirly purple and white. It is exactly like the one she already has, except she stole that one. It was a present for Max four Christmases ago. The dogs’ gifts were all wrapped and placed under the tree the day before Christmas and about 20 minutes later, as Morgan and I stood in the kitchen contemplating dinner Bear marched purposefully down the stairs from the living room carrying the unwrapped Kong in her mouth and headed straight for her bed.
“That’s not for you,” we told her and we took it away, rewrapped it and placed it in its spot under the tree. An hour later Bear had unwrapped it again and carted it back to her bed.
But now Bear drops the new Kong on the floor, stomps her foot when I look at her, as if demanding the cardboard be removed, which it is, and then two black noses probe the edge of the table and drool puddles on the floor. We spray peanut butter in to Bear’s new Kong and then Murdoch’s Extreme Kong, and hand them over. Toenails clip-clip busily on the wood floor as they scurry away to their beds and settle in with complete and singular focus. They are no longer interested in the brown box that sits forgotten on the kitchen floor, flaps thrown open. It is empty now, except for a cat.