Inside the sitting room, we circle the box, my wife and I, both looking for a weakness, a spot to pick at. We touch the sides, run our hands along each edge, every one as straight and perfect as the next. We flip the box, examining both ends, caressing the dead centre, where there should be a crack as the flaps fold together, but instead there is just smooth, absolute cardboard. Marie asks: "What kind of box is this?" I open my mouth to answer, but my jaw just hangs and I squish my nose up on my face.
"I don't know. But I'm going to find out."
I have a Stanley knife somewhere, one my wife bought me early in our relationship as part of a set of tools. She presumed, because I am a man, that I would find a use for it but I just lost it in a pile of old clothes or in a box.
"Do you want some tea? I'm putting on the kettle."
"Yeah, whatever." Replies Marie distracted, indifferent, occupied by the new object.
In the kitchen, I search beneath the sink but there are only cleaners and rags.
"Honey, if we ever have children, we are going to have to move these cleaners."
From the sitting room, I can just make out a muffled "Yeh."
I mimic her, quietly at first, but then loud enough for her to hear. She doesn't respond.
"Yeah, those cleaners would kill a litter of children."
I move to the storage space under the stairs when the kitchen proves barren. Boxes are stacked at one end, crowded and tight, and at the other end lay piles of old shoes and clothes, dusty and laced with cobwebs.
"You know honey," I begin moving boxes out from under the stairs, "trying to find this knife is like trying to find a bloody screwdriver. There is never one when you want it."
The boxes are full of magazines, OK and Woman's Way. Ones my wife inherited from her mother like family heirlooms.
"Why don't you just use a kitchen knife?" She helps from the sitting room.
"That's not the point. I should be able to find it when I need it, not root through this crap. I mean, Jesus Christ, this one's from 1978."
I hold up a magazine with Farrah Fawcett on the cover.
"Do you know what I'm saying?"
"Honey, do you know what I'm talking about?"
Marie doesn't answer. In fact, there is no noise coming from the sitting room but the steady chime of an antique standing clock.
When I look in the sitting room, she was gone and the box was open, a single flap hanging listlessly from the top. The kettle screams steam.