#58 cigar box

JC Olsthoorn

Canada Post delivered the expedited parcel on, of all days, a Sunday.

How odd was that? When Helen opened it she found inside a cigar box, Monte Cristo Habana. Twenty-five TUBOS used to live here.

And now inside the cigar box?

Well, it was supposed to be personal stuff, tangible intimate reflections of a rekindled friendship, creations shared between an artist and a poet.

Helen was expecting at least a hand-written note. Not there. A hand-made card or drawing inspired by one of their many e-mail conversations. Not there either. She sifted through the contents of the box looking, hoping.


Instead, marketing material: Tourist attraction brochures from his recent trip to Ireland. A bookmark advertising Guinness and one with Irish writers, all dead.

A vellum envelope with a scribbled note – not personalized – on the front held a handful of postcards of his figurative art before he moved on to abstract. A small hardcover book on the life and art of Toulouse-Lautrec. A moleskin-type notebook, lined, no pen, no pencil.

A 50 cent Euro coin? An old business card?? A fortune from a cookie??? A feather and a rock! All stuff from him not of him, not obviously, anyway.

She had no clue what any of it meant and knew well enough at this point not to badger nor cajole him into saying or explaining. It would have done no good to ask.

That night, Helen poked through the ashes and thought how fitting the charred rock resembled his heart.


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