Her heart began to sink. “What is it?” she asked.
He looked in and smiled. “What do you mean, ‘what is it?’ Look—it’s a, um,” he turned his head from side to side, the beauty and whimsy of it capturing him.
She looked as if she was about to cry; it reminded her of her mother who had died in a plane crash. “Why are you smiling?”
He looked closely at her and wondered how something so exquisite could be causing her such anguish. “I can’t help it; the beauty of it, you see? The lines and points are absolutely stunning.”
She frowned, and then squinted, thinking that perhaps if she tried changing her visual field she would see what he saw. Alas, it was not to be. She straightened her face. “Nope. Don’t see it.” The thing was as ugly and gaudy as ever.
He spread his hands wide. “Well, are you saying you don’t want it?”
She hesitated; would her mother want her to take it? “I don’t know.”
He pursed his lips and regarded her from the corner of his eyes. “Well,” he slyly suggested, “if you find it so repulsive, why don’t you let me take it for myself?”
She cocked her head to look at him. “Why would you want my mother’s broach?”
“Your mother’s broach?” He looked in again and turned back to her. “First off, weren’t your mother’s, erm, remains, buried with her broach? And second, that diamond ring looks nothing like your mother’s broach. Besides, wasn’t the broach covered in rubies?”
“Diamond ring? That’s what you see in there?”
They looked in the box together but saw different things. As they continued to stare, they both felt a sense of peace come over them and fell into a deep sleep from which they were never to awaken. They had discovered the ornate jar in a box at the yard sale and opened it in hopes of finding treasure but instead had awakened Elpis; Pandora had unleashed misery but in his attempt to bring hope, Elpis tried to bring peace to anyone unlucky enough to discover his home. He used to bring painless instant death to those who found him but after listening to centuries of police reports being taken and innocent people being locked away for his deeds, he became more modern in his approach. He turned the poor creatures into beautiful art pieces, releasing their souls into the comfort of quiet statuary rather than sending them on the more traditional trip to Hades. After the first 500 years or so, he had managed to perfect his ability to create items that were less Greek in appearance and over time had gotten quite good at stone, terra cotta, and metal. The statues were always a surprise when discovered, but the “ooh’s” and “ah’s” he heard in response to his creations were confirmation that such subtle changes to his artistic style were being met with appreciation. His current efforts complete, he resumed his meditation in hopes of not being disturbed again for at least a hundred years.
Once again I was inspired by Greek mythology; if you need a refresher on Pandora and her box, visit here. Aw, go on and check anyway–you might be surprised by some new information (for neophytes: it wasn’t really a box…). And if you are interested in learning about what stayed in the um, box, after Pandora opened it, visit here to read about Elpis.