Lilith had a box in front of her as Ruben entered the store that morning. The box stood there, and Lilith’s gaze rested on it. It was nothing more than a box, a small, unimpressive box of cardboard, brown and a little worn. Neither inscription nor ornament were found on it. And yet Ruben knew immediately that it was important for Lilith, if he could not discover for what reason.
“It’s not much of a life, ultimately,” Lilith said abruptly, as if she had torn the sentence from a long line of thought and simply thrown Ruben to take it or leave it.
“Little if we are referring to things. Little if we only rely on what we know,” Ruben replied simply.
“Here, in this box, are all the things that symbolize these moments, which are truly decisive. A few things, nothing more. Soft positions. This box is not even full,” Lilith continued, as if she had not heard what Ruben had said, “And then was that all? Shall I have to content myself with these nonsensical things? As my life?”
“What’s in there?” Ruben asked, for she had awakened his curiosity.
“Actually it’s crap. Nothing brings back. All over. To forget. Nonsensical,” Lilith explained as she took it suddenly and went to the stove,” I should burn it. It’s just as good.”
“Stop!” cried Ruben, while he grabbed her by the arm, “You must not do that!”
“You’re hurting me,” she said briefly. Ashamed, Ruben loosened his grip.
“I’m sorry, but I did not want to,” he said embarrassed, and so calmly, “But let me take a look. Would not it be a pity?”
“Of course, it’s a pity,” Lilith said dryly, “but it’s still a pity all the years that went by, and nothing remained of it but this little box of garbage. All the years. My life. Or whatever that was!”
“Come, sit down with me, and let us talk about it,” he said, holding her hand still on her arm, but gentle and protective now and no longer menacing.
“Then look. How pitiful it is,” she said. Still, she sat next to him. Steely, he opened the box. Stealthy, because it seemed to him a little as if he were entering an area so intimate that he had actually lost nothing in it. A place that until now only Lilith had entered. On the other hand, she had asked him to visit him.
The first thing Ruben noticed was a pack of letters. A narrower though, but still. A smile had almost come to him, but he managed to hold it back in time, because that would not have been appropriate. But who would not have smiled when he realized that they, both he and she, came from a different time when letters were still being written. You could keep them and wrap a red ribbon around it, which you then locked with a mesh. They could be picked up and watched over and over again. You could remember in dark moments that it was also different. And then it could happen that the dark moments appeared even darker, because the moments were so bright then. Maybe Lilith should really throw her into the fire. But also the photos of her children? All the little remembrances to live with them, which she had so carefully kept? Ruben closed the box again and handed it back to Lilith.
“I think,” he began, and she realized that he carefully selected each word before he pronounced it as carefully as if he had to translate from a foreign language into his own language, “It does not matter if you burn it or not . Maybe it is momentary your wish to do it. Currently your wish to get rid of them. But will you really get rid of them? And above all, do you really want to get rid of them? “
“Out of sight, out of sense,” she said dryly, taking the box to herself.
“Maybe out of mind, but not from your heart, not from your feeling,” he said, still thoughtful, “for all these moments may be represented by the things in the box. It will be easier for you to remember, but your thoughts will always lead you there, even if you throw the box with its contents into the fire. “
“It would be a symbolic act,” she said quietly.
“Symbolically yes, but no more,” he said, “but do you really want to get rid of them? Each one of these moments was a living moment, a moment that enchanted you and made something with you. You can not experience such moments without changing something in you, changing you. They are gifts of life to you and they have given you light and warmth and joy. Why do you want to get rid of them? Sure, they lie behind you, and there are also the others, the dark moments, but why remove the light, just because there is darkness beside it? They should stand by themselves, motivate and inspire you. “
“Motivate and inspire?” Lilith repeated quietly, with a questioning undertone, and he saw her close her eyes. She walked away from him, far away in space and time. He let her go. It was her journey and he had no right to interrupt or interfere. Even if it was not easy for him, but he wanted to, the smile, which also came.
“Motivate and inspire,” Lilith repeated as she opened her eyes. “You’re right, it’s good to think about it, and then the light spreads out into the dark, overlaying it. And I see it as it is: Gift, happy moments. “
The first smile that day he got from her. The first grant. And then she told about these happy, lively moments. Then she took him on a journey to a past that is always present when she breathes life into her storytelling. It is good to preserve life if it conveys us in the now.
And that evening she put the box in the display, for good moments, living moments of coexistence, of experience, can only be given. It is good to be accepted and enriched. It is good to live them. And sometimes it’s just good to remember them.