November 11: a mystery box

This summer – it was August – I was taking my rubbish out to the bins and the postman asked if I would hold a package for a neighbour. It was a rather large box from the Nationwide building society. It said on it: Welcome to your new home. I kept the box for quite a few days. It was a big box and it took up a lot of space. The neighbour, clearly someone who was soon moving in, did not appear. I am doing the non-existant neighbour (him/her) quite a favour. We moved into September, October, now November. Still no sign of the new people in the flat. When you peer through the window (casually as I pass) there is no sign of presence within. I have looked at the outside of the box. It should be possible to wiggle the plastic binding off it and tease the box open. I am human, aren’t I? I am curious. I just want to have a look. If there is something I fancy in the box… Well, I’ll just have a look. I could always say, if the neighbour materialised one day and asked for the box, that I’d taken it back to the post office or something. This would be quite a reasonable thing to do. It is a large box. Last night I opened the box. I wiggled the plastic straps off with great dexterity. I pulled the flaps open. Inside were a number of items. Two rolls of kitchen towels. A small bottle of toilet cleaner. A box of Weetabix. It is a very disappointing outcome. Who had the idea of putting together such a Welcome box? At the very least I was expecting a bottle of champagne. I put the whole thing back together again. It is a large box to hold for a non-existant neighbour. I am doing them (him/her) quite a favour.

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