i stumbled across a box once. it was just sitting there in the middle of nowhere. it was metal. it had a keyhole. lying on the ground next to it was a key. i took up the key and opened the box but it was empty. i picked up the box and turned it this way and that, examining it. on the bottom someone had written “i have a gift for you”. i doubted that meant me, but i did wonder who it was meant for. and perhaps that gift was already taken long ago and the box would remain empty. i had no way of knowing, but i determined to check the box every day. and so i did. and every day i opened it with a mixture of dread and excitement. and every day i was disappointed for the box remained empty. after a time i realized that the gift must have been taken long ago and that was why the box had been discarded there in the middle of nowhere. it must have made whoever found it very happy. i wondered what it was. i knew i would never find out, but curiosity had gripped me by then and would not let go. i assumed that i had just been too late because i would hate to think that the box had lied to me. perhaps it did, i thought, and i determined to throw the box away and let it torture someone else, but i could never bring myself to do it. and so i still check the box and i still feel the disappointment at finding it empty.