I went shopping for bubble wrapper. I had wanted small sheets, but the salesman told me I would have to buy a length of it. As is my wont, I bought too much. It was unwieldy and did not look like it could protect anything. The strange thing is that I did not have a clear idea about the purpose of its purchase at the time. I do give gifts and sometimes they are fragile. Even when they are not, I like them to be coddled. Wood carvings can get dented, bronze trinkets do get rusted, dried flowers often crumble. I fear their wounds, if not their demise.
I once presented a set of vases, black with copper embellishment, to a friend. I had got a large cardboard box, placed cottonwool at the bottom, then tenderly lowered the vases, stuffed the sides and any hollow with crinkled colourful paper, making sure that they did not move. If things don’t move they do not get hurt. I shut the box and covered it with a paisley print wrapping paper. I took it to her house. There were guests and they urged her to open it. I am usually quite embarrassed during such moments. What if she did not like it?
She started unwrapping, opened the box, removed the crinkly paper and held the vase up. It looked beautiful. She took the other one out and a bit of the cotton was clinging to it, hanging rather uncouthly like an unkempt beard. The copper work was embossed and at one point where the design was sharp the cotton had lodged itself. A lovely piece marred by too much protection.
So, I have this bubble wrapper, rolled up, folded, as my mood wills it…I sometimes poke into it. I have used it a few times, cutting out small portions. With time there will be less and less of it left. And I know I will miss it. Just as I thought about it when I grazed my elbow. Or when I wept because I felt like weeping. And I thought how good my tears would look inside the bubble wrapper. How good everything looks when it seems safe and invisible.