She remembered the first fight they ever had. It was the first time visiting his parents, her first time meeting them. They were nice, and warm, and overall kind people.
And she hated them for it.
He had noticed the change in her almost right away. Throughout supper, she had been barely contained, polite with an undercurrent of biting remarks. The kind you were sure were meant to hurt, but disguised as a compliment. He couldn't figure it out.
After supper, he had taken her by the hand, waving off questions from his parents. We'll join you later, he said. You go ahead and start the movie.
And then he took her upstairs. She was sullen, and silent, turning her head away from him as he tried to ask her questions, as he tried to pry, just a little bit into her mind. More than once, he took her chin, however gently, and turned her head back to face him. It was nearly a half hour of questioning before he finally got a breakthrough of any sort.
"Because they have a box in the attic, and it has your name on it."
He knew almost immediately what she meant. A box in the attic with his name on it, presumably filled with all the little mementos of childhood days past, and reminders of what he once was like. His parents kept things like that, so they would remember the bouncing baby boy, the worrisome toddler, the excited ten year old, the adolescent phase when he had blue hair and piercings.
And she was jealous.
Nobody had cared that much about her growing up. Nobody wanted to remember her. As she turned her head away, he sighed, wrapping his arms around her, and kissing her forehead. She made a feeble attempt to push him away, and was surprised and disappointed when he let her go, standing up suddenly.
Come on, he said, come with me. Holding out his hand, it was all she could do to take it, and stand up again, letting herself be led out of the room. A short trip down the hallway, a longer trip up a set of hidden stairs, and she found herself in an attic, everything covered in a fine coating of dust. He let go of her hand, moving over to a box, one of the ones closest to the opening in the floor. Kneeling down, he pulled his worn leather wallet from his back pocket, fishing something out of it after a few seconds of fumbling.
Now entirely bewildered, she watched him. He had to be doing something, but hell if she knew what it was. He blew some dust off the top of the box, before pulling the lid off. She knew what the box was as soon as she saw the inside. It was his box, she could see the bronzed baby booties from here. Before she could force herself into an angry reaction, he set something down in the box, a picture.
A picture of her and him.
There, he said, a silly grin on his face. You have a box now too.
She said it was only dust in her eyes. After all, she never cried.