The Maybe Box is about Bee, a department store supervisor who is determined to keep making beautifully decorated boxes out of the cardboard she salvages at work, all the while denying that they are works of art.
I stand at the entrance to the warehouse. It’s like a church, cavernous, with a high ceiling into which male voices rise and echo, and it’s so cold you can see your breath in the air. But instead of men of the cloth, there are blokes in black combat trousers and t-shirts shifting trolleys and cages full of merchandise.
Jamshed the warehouse supervisor collects the used boxes for me, and if they are partly crushed or torn all the better. He approaches me with a mountainous pile of cardboard, origami-like folds and perforated edges not quite meeting after careless use.
He helps me compress the cardboard so that it fits inside my suitcase.
‘There you go, Bee. Is that enough to keep you going?’ He beams at me.
‘Definitely. Thanks, Jamshed.’
After work I go home, make dinner and feed the cats. Des knows he will have to wash up – I have work to do in the basement.
I open the suitcase and the cardboard springs into life. I close the curtains and turn on the old Anglepoise, directing the light out into the room and onto the sheets of paper pinned to the wall: I’ve sketched out the spaces and angles of the boxes that live in my head.
Thanks to Alan Good & Malarkey Books for publishing it.