Most know the story of Pandora and her box, how she doomed the world by opening the cursed gift from the gods.
But I was different. When I opened my box, people would praise me for a job well done. For you see, I myself obtained a mystical box, and once opened, it would grant me any wish I asked of it. The box was exclusive to me and me alone, rendering it useless to anyone else who opened it.
I was known as a selfless girl who never used the box for her own personal desires, and everyone loved me for it.
The first time I used the box was when I was seven. My mother was pregnant with the twins, and her cravings were something fierce.
“I wish mommy had all the dumplings she wanted.”
My father was amazed by how easily I used the box, and impressed that it took to me so quickly. My mother was grateful.
A few months later, I made another wish for my new brother and sister.
“I wish their crib was a teeny bit bigger.”
Both of my parents were happy, as the crib was now the perfect size.
I made the box known to my best friend when I was thirteen. She was impressed by its ornate design, but upon learning its power, she grew even more curious. I made yet another wish.
“I wish for my friend to get an A on the algebra test next week.”
Algebra was her worst subject, and she laughed, but the following week she ran up to me, a red “100%” marked on the sheet of paper in her hand. She would later ask me to wish that for her again, and of course I obliged. After all, we were friends, right?
I later revealed the box to another friend of mine at the age of sixteen. Unsurprisingly, she demanded proof, so I opened it and fulfilled a small desire of hers.
“I wish for that beautiful bright blue guitar from the mall.”
She couldn’t believe her eyes when I handed her the guitar she had been coveting for months. I reminded her of the secret nature of the box, and she promised to never reveal its existence, even promising to not ask me for another thing from the box. True to her word, she never asked me for another thing.
She did, however, tell others about the box. But I couldn’t blame her. It was a big secret. How could I expect anyone to keep something so amazing secret? Besides, once people learned she wasn’t telling lies, they liked me even more.
A year later, during my senior year of high school, my teacher asked me to grant one wish of his. He simply asked for the woman he loved to give him a chance.I felt sorry for him, so I granted it.
“I wish for the woman my teacher loves to give him a chance to prove himself to her.”
A few months later, one of our janitors came to me and asked for a sign directing me towards the person his wife was having an affair with. I never understood adultery, so I used the box.
“I wish for the school’s janitor to discover who his wife is cheating on him with.”
The following week, our teacher went missing. He never did come back.
In college, my roommate learned about the box and asked what the strangest thing I wished for was. I suppose my answer—the teacher’s request—confused her, but then I explained how I had never wished for my own personal thing. I made me a good girl.
She was astonished, and late that year she looked at me strangely as my parents asked for me to use the box to make them money.
“I wish for my parents to receive a lot more money than they’re making now.”
I asked her why she had looked at me that way, but she refused to answer. But I insisted, and she relented and asked me why I was so willing to help people feed their selfish desires.
I was confused. Selfish? What made that request selfish?
My roommate then told me of how she had wanted to ask me for so many things, but she had refused because she enjoyed working for what she desired. She then asked me if my parents were struggling financially. My answer was no. She asked me then, why did I fulfill their request just now?
My eyes drifted to the box, still in my hands.
I couldn’t answer her.
From then on, I made a declaration to myself to never fulfill a selfish wish, only willing to grant wished based on need. More and more people learned of the box in their own way, and I readied myself to decline any selfish wishes.
But the wishes…so many of them…
…most of them were selfish.
Changing scores on tests, extra but unneeded money, getting something they simply wanted but didn’t need.
All of those requests, so selfish and greedy! But how could this be? How could every singly request be filled with nothing but desire?
I hid away the box, and when people asked for a request, I told them I couldn’t grant their wish.
The amount of friends I had diminished. The attention given to me disappeared. People didn’t just ignore me—they actively avoided me!
Was everyone always this selfish? All this time, had they used my kind nature to get what they wanted, and only what they wanted?
When I realized that, I let out a cry and ran to where I hid the box. I could have used the box for myself throughout the years for better clothes, for better grades, but I was the good girl! I never desired! Was I wrong to not desire? Or did it keep me from being consumed by greed?
As I held the box, anger surged through me. I could undo every wish I had ever made.I could make everyone pay for what they had done, using me. I could make them pay for using my ignorance for their own wants.
But that part of me, the good girl, couldn’t desire such pain on others. The part of me that was taught to not have too many desires, to try to sympathize with every human being couldn’t do it. So I sobbed as I held the box I had owned since birth and made my first personal wish.
“I wish you didn’t exist.”
Then I opened the box, and in the next instant, it vanished from existence.
I questioned for a long time if I was no longer the “good girl.” I felt this horrible feeling, as if by wishing away the box I had committed a crime.
But after some time, I saw that the box had never been of use to me. I was finally different from that ignorant child who granted wishes without question, but I also feared that my act was selfish.
But my desire to blindly help others without thinking, I realized, had to come to an end.
I’m not quite sure why I’m writing this. Perhaps as a warning to those who desire too much? Perhaps for those who desire too little? I’m not too sure it even matters.
All I know is that my desire to write this down has been quenched. I’ll leave the lesson learned to you.