Charlie opened the flaps of the second box. More magazines, in two stacks; he saw the picture of a player who had retired a decade earlier. Running his hands along the stapled spines of the stack on the left, Charlie flipped through the titles. Half-way down, he saw the magazines gave way to hard-covered books. He lifted — books the rest of the way down. He turned his attention to the stack on the right, found nearly the same arrangement.
He closed the box, having reached two conclusions. First, Mike’s mother must have put this box together, because Mike never had the organizational skills required to arrange the contents so orderly. Second, neither of the boxes would contain what he was looking for.
The third box was filled entirely with hard-covered books. Charlie saw the pattern; this third box had been underneath the first two, probably because it was heaviest. There was another stack of three cardboard boxes to go through, and he was certain that if were to find what he was searching for, it would be in the top or middle box.
Charlie lowered the top box of the second stack onto the floor of Mike’s room, and quickly opened its flaps. More comic books, these were older, showing the price Charlie’s parents had found affordable. He sifted through the few dozen issues at the top — and then saw something different. A plain blue cover, the words notebook, college-ruled, 3 subject, college ruled spelled out in all lower-case letters. He pulled the comics swiftly onto the floor, excited. This wasn’t exactly what he was looking for — Charlie knew he wasn’t the smartest person in the world, but he knew he was good at remembering details like colors, and the notebook he was looking for had a green cover — but he was certain now that he had at least found the right box.