The Yearbook Office
Writings on staying alive

Everywhere Lana went she saw the boxes. No matter where she went the boxes followed her. She could be reading a book, or listening to music, or driving in her car, but she would look down and there were the boxes. The boxes showed her tantalizing images. She could not help but notice the boxes, and often she could not look away.

It had not started out like this. The first time Lana saw the boxes, she was in a sketchy part of town. They would appear when she looked down dark alleys and drove under bridges. It was much easier to tune them out, she could predict when they might be there and just ignore them.

But they kept showing up, often when she least expected them. On her commute she would drive by stores and restaurants, reputable places she had been before, and there were the boxes right out front. Then she started seeing them at work, as her coworkers talked, as she tried to focus on her job. It was tough but Lana learned to deal with this as well, it took a lot more energy to actively avoid looking at them but she managed.

Lana was not even surprised, the first time she hung out with a friend from college and the boxes came along with. She had never trusted that friend too much anyway. But as time went on, more and more friends started to come with the boxes along with them too. This took a hard toll on Lana, these were people who knew better.

It bothered her because the boxes all contained lies. But they were the sweetest lies. They whispered in her ear all her fears and anxieties. The lies in the boxes told her everything she wanted to hear, and lulled her into thinking "Were they really lies after all?"

She had tried opening one, once, back when the boxes had first started appearing. And she knew immediately they were tricking her, that she was the prey and the only recourse was to run. But she had a hard time running now, with the boxes appearing everywhere she went.

Lana was afraid, because she knew there might be a day when she would forget that the boxes contained lies. They were so easy to believe, and even the smallest slip-up would let the boxes into her heart. She had seen it happen to others. Her co-workers did nothing but talk about the great wonders that opening the boxes had brought them. They could barely see themselves any more, they had been blinded by the boxes, but Lana could still see it.

But she had no idea how to stop them. She had no idea where they were from, or who was behind them, and now they were everywhere and all she could do was avoid them. She liked to believe that everyone else was silently fighting the boxes too, that one day they would rise up and put an end to them. She would lie awake at night and pray that when she woke the boxes would be gone. It was the smallest of prayers.