Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Pandora Box

Have you ever heard the story of the Pandora's Box? Long long ago while growing up in northern Spain, I discovered a Pandora Box hidden away in the attic of the abandoned chateau that had once belonged to my great-great grandmother Anastasia, which in turn, had belong to her own great grandmother, the intriguing Arabella Countess of Aragon.
It was the most fascinating little box I had ever seen, made of pearl on the outside and an assortment of fabrics and tulle and some other rare materials on the inside. This beloved box had once belonged to Arabella Countess of Aragon, and it was as intriguing and bewitching as Arabella herself had once been.
I like to call this very special box a “Pandora Box” for what it means and what it represents, but of course, it really is just a Writing Box...
Back in the days of Arabella Countess of Aragon, back in 1750, a portable desk in the form of a box—hence a Writing Box, was a very important and necessary item. A Writing Box could be used on a table or on one's lap, and through it both business and personal activity were transacted. Arabella would use her Writing Box to sign contracts, letters and postcards were written on its sloping surface, but later her Writing Box became an elaborate piece of craftsmanship—a marvelous confection made by Arabella herself, where she would hide the strangest of personal things. Thus, her Writing Box became a Secret Box; her confidant and keeper of her most inner desires and clandestine possessions. Opening Arabella’s Pandora Box was like breathing magic into my childhood... a wisp of air came wafting straight out of the box the very minute I opened it, it smelled of lavender and peppermint and I clearly remember feeling as if I just had walked into a Christmas memory that didn’t belong to me and yet, it was all mine in a mysterious and inexplicable way.
There was a mood of magic in the room and I could see Arabella’s scent lingering in the air like kite tails. Whatever secrets or message had been hidden in her secret box now needed some way out... and I was there to find out. It was as if Arabella herself was standing beside me making sure I knew... knew all her secrets. So strong her presence was.
There were some old coins in Arabella’s box, and there were some tattered jewelry oxidized with time and a yellowish land contract in onion skin paper, and there was an old and very peculiar crucifix along with an old daguerreotype of the passionate and fearless Arabella Countess of Aragon. All of a sudden the room got very quiet and I was sure I heard Arabella saying: "Prepare yourself, my dearest Cielo, for a delightful surprise". And how true! You see, I was about to yet uncover another treasure... tucked away under the aged lining of the old box a real treasure was waiting! My hands moved rapidly through the box, my mind looking for clues... Until I saw them: Arabella’s famous love letters; those my mother and her sisters and mothers before them would always talked about in hush voices.
The love letters were from Arabella and her lover; a very mysterious man who, sometimes at the end of his letters would curiously sign as “Your Majesty, the King”. Under the lining of Arabella’s box, I also found an ancient medallion, which I’m now positive it’d belonged to that certain King. The strange medallion had an unusual inscription in it and an emblem on it pertaining to royal dynasty.
Its regal look reminded me of royal tapestries and carvings, and I could picture kings and queens using them as royal gifts for their courts. Some of the love letters where written and signed by Arabella herself... “heme determinado ante ti como una página escrita y borrada mil veces...”—read one of her letters. If you click on Arabella’s letter you can read the rest of it, or at least most of it, but that’s just if you dare snoop into her very dark past! Indeed, the strange Arabella had a very dark past, and I can attest to that because among the things tucked away in her box I also found this bizarre “Wanted Sign” you see here... the sign had been tucked away among the few things Arabella was able to keep to the end of her days, and you could tell that someone had folded it almost reverently, as if it was some sacred totem needed to be forgotten or perhaps eternally remembered. Arabella was wanted by the authorities of her time, and it had something to do with her lover being who he was and the way they both carried their ‘illicit’ love against all odds. It was taboo—that love was. But you must forgive me for ending Arabella’s story so abruptly here. You see, time is running out on me and I must part as soon as possible... I have a flight to catch—a carpet ride, that is! Ah yes, the magic carpet of Tangu (also called Prince Housain's carpet for those of you not acquainted with the story), has been parked in my garden for the last three days, and I cannot, or rather not, make it wait any longer, as this is a rather moody carpet, you know! But I promise I’ll share with you the rest of Arabella’s story real soon. Have you ever ride on a magic carpet? Magic carpets are used to instantaneously travel throughout Heaven and it is a wonderful alternative to broomstick. The story goes that as soon as Solomon sat upon his magic carpet he was caught up by the wind, and sailed through the air so quickly that he breakfasted at Damascus and supped in Media. So I expect to get to Florida in no time at all! But you never know! ;) In any case, I’m taking my computer with me just in case you’d want to send your good wishes for a safe ride into the sky... That will make me incredibly happy! OK, I'm ready now!
Off I go! See you soooon!