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Ella's Mind

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Thirty five year-old Ella Mills walked down the aisles of a flea market looking for treasures.   “Ah, there you are,” she said and went to an ornate, box and picked it up and opened it.  The inside was covered in a black material that she thought was velvet, but wasn’t sure. “This will be perfect for my jewelry.”

As she admired the box, a man, who was about seven feet tall, wearing a shining, almost glowing robe, approached her. “May I help you, madam?”

“Uh, yes, I’m interested in this box. It would be perfect for my jewelry.” she said. “What is it made of?  It looks like wood, but I don’t recall seeing wood like this.”

“It is not wood, madam. It is made of a substance that once grew in far-off forests, but can no longer be found anywhere.”

“Well, I’ll take it. How much does it cost?”

“You may have it for one cent.”

“A penny? What’s the joke?”

“No joke. Please take it for one cent.”

“Okay.  Sold,” she said, took it home, and went directly to her bedroom to put her jewelry in it. She put it on her bed, got her jewelry, sat on the bed and opened the box.

“My God, what is that?” she gasped as she stared at a swirling cloud that filled the box. After a moment, she closed the lid.  After several seconds she slowly lifted the lid. “It’s still there. What is it?”

“I am your mind, Ella Mills.”

She pinched her arm. “No, I’m not asleep. Jeez. What are you?”

“I said, I am your mind. I am you, your entire being. I am your mind.”

“How is this happening? A talking box.”

“I am not what you see, a box. I am a living thing. It is not the box that is talking. It is your mind. “Why am I imagining what’s happening?”

“You are not imagining what’s happening. Make up your mind to accept your mind.”

“Huh?”

“I said, make up your mind to accept your mind.”

“This is crazy. My mind isn’t making any sense, and I just don’t like this mumbo jumbo, so

I guess I’ll just close the lid and pretend you never happened,” she said, but couldn’t close it.

“Hey, why won’t the lid close?” she mumbled as she strained to close the lid. After a few moments, she gave up. “This is crazy. What’s going on? Jewelry boxes don’t talk, to say nothing of the babbling nonsense this one is spewing about my mind,” she said angrily, threw the box on the floor, and it broke into several pieces. “Good riddance.”

“You tried to close the lid on your mind. It’s not good to close your mind. A closed mind is an empty mind.”

“Alright, what the hell is going on here?”

“What’s going on is your mind telling you to make up your mind.”

“About what?”

“About what’s on your mind?”

“Nothing is on my mind. My mind is a complete blank.”

“It’s impossible for nothing to be on your mind. If you are alive, and living in the world, then something is on your mind.”

“Go away.”

“You can’t tell your mind to go away. That’s like telling your brain to go away. You can’t get rid of your mind.”

“Alright, so I’m stuck with my mind. Now, what the hell does my mind want from me?”

“Only you know what your mind wants from you. So, what’s on your mind?”

“This is funny. My mind is asking me what’s on it. My mind is talking to itself.”

“Very good. Talk to yourself. That’s a good way to find out what’s on your mind.”

“I have to sit down,” she said and sat on a chair. We’re going around in circles. I don’t know who is talking to whom. If this continues, I’ll go out of my mind.”

“That’s ridiculous. You can’t go out of me, your mind. Where would you go if you could go out of your mind?”

She stared at the broken box for several minutes. “You’re trying to make me crazy, aren’t you? You’re trying to make me think I’m losing my mind?”

“You can’t lose your mind. Can you lose your brain? No. Besides, you don’t even know where your mind is. If you don’t know where something is, you can’t lose it.”

“STOP,” she screamed at the top of her lungs.

Two days later, Ella’s sister, May, entered her apartment with a policeman. “I’ve been trying to reach her for two days, officer. I’m afraid something’s happened to her,” she said and went into the living room. “Oh, my God. Ella,” she gasped. What are you doing?”

Ella, who was crawling like a child, looked up. “I lost my mind, and I can’t find it. Will you help me find it?”

Two years later, Ella talked to Dr. Soros, a psychiatrist, as they looked through the window in the door to Ella’s room.  “She’s been crawling around like that for two years. She keeps asking me to help her find her mind. Poor soul.”

“Is there any hope, Dr. Soros,” May asked.

“Yes. I believe she will be fine after she finds what she believes she lost.”

 

The End

 

While teaching speech and English at a community college, Mr. Greenblatt wrote short stories and plays, one of which won a reading at Smith College.  After retiring, he wrote short stories and novellas.  Several of his stories were published in on-line magazines, and others were published in print anthologies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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