For a brief time, I wondered who it could have been that wanted to drop by. I was at home, more than likely not paying any attention to the pounding noise along the downstairs floor and figuring it was just the handyman banging away at something.
If the person had called, I would have invited them upstairs. I would have offered them something to drink, although I only have orange juice and milk in the fridge. We could have chatted for a spell, really, about anything they wanted. They could have brought a little ray of sunshine in my otherwise bland and dreary existence.
I took a closer look at the card.
It was from the post office. The carrier must have placed it in there. I began to wonder. Have I ever met the carrier? Was he or she a friendly person? Did they want to meet everyone on their route, getting to know them better so they can be left greeting cards and gifts during the holidays? I flipped over the card and within a tiny box was a check mark beside the word “Parcel.”
Something too big for the mailbox had come in. Really, everything is too big for the rinky-dink mailbox I have, even regular business-sized envelopes. The card said the parcel would be ready for pickup the next day, or I could schedule it to have it redelivered. Well, it’s not like I’m doing much with my oh-so-precious time at the moment. So I decide to head out bright and early to pick up the parcel.
Parcel? That’s such a funny British word. Anytime I hear of it, I think of a piece of land. “Pick up your parcel of plowed plant paradise at your local post office and be a pro for eco-friendly progress.” Try and say that 10 times fast.
Anyhow, I went to pick up the “parcel.” I walked along the sidewalk, keeping an ear for any busses coming my way. It’s not exactly a long walk, maybe five or six blocks, but if I could catch the bus I would. The skies were cloudy, but no rain was falling. I can never tell from the apartment. It always seemed cloudy since the building across the street is taller than the one where I live in, casting its huge shadow over every window. It was a bit windy, throwing some loose debris around as I rubbed my eyes now and again.
I watched a sidewalk sweeper rumble by, the man bouncing in his seat and twirling the wheel to avoid the small trees planted along the street edge. I walked by the bank I use, the security guard standing outside looking intently down the street. A few minutes earlier, a cop car had driven past. I wondered if the security guard was interested to see some action, whether or not he knew the local officers, or perhaps reminiscing the days when as a kid he had accompanied the police on a drive-around, as he had high dreams of becoming a beat cop but was never able to pass the physical.
I reached the post office. For once it was empty as the clerk behind the desk scrunched her face when I handed her the parcel pickup card. She asked to see my id. I had it ready for her. Her face scrunched some more, and I wondered if she ever worried about the massive wrinkles she was causing that might stay with her into old age. She scurried behind the large wall and returned in about two minutes with my parcel.
It wasn’t land. I was hoping it would be. I heard the bubble had burst for the real-estate market. Of course, experts have been saying that for years. Still, I might have fetched a good asking price for the square of sod... or at least turned it into a neat welcome mat.
It was a box from Lulu. I thanked the clerk and head out the door. Lulu? Was she a cousin of Laverne or Shirley? I never really understood the plot of that show, despite watching it. Two women living with each other and all the wackiness they do. It was like Felix and Oscar from “The Odd Couple” but geared more for women. I suppose the feminist came out in force to ask for their own show.
Lulu. I knew what the package was. The company is one of those publish-on-demand places. I tore open the package and saw a book inside. I had won it in a contest last week. It was really a magazine filled with several fiction/fantasy stories.
I dropped the outer packaging into the trash and carried my book home, so interested in it that I never heard the bus rumble by. I kept the plastic wrapping on, in case it did rain and proved the weathermen wrong (how dare Mother Nature have a mind of her own to do such a thing as prove that humans don’t know jack-squat about predicting the weather!?!) I walked by the hospital as I saw several people sitting outside on benches, many having a smoke break. A woman laughed as another smoothed out her sundress, making comments about the growing bulge underneath as a man cackled about getting her pregnant. I almost reached the corner as an older man waddled up.
His gait was limping, but not so much as if he had an injury. More like the hardships of life had taken a toll on him, causing him to lean to one side and then the other waiting for a wind of hope and forgiveness would push him upright and lighten life's burden on shoulders. He glanced at me and then his face began to lower in that strange passiveness/shyness strangers have when walking up the street and are caught staring at someone they don’t know.
His eyes started to look down, but mine kept on his face in casual glances. When close enough, I smiled. On his face, a smile also appeared as his head lifted. We silently moved past each other without any greeting. He waddled on his way, perhaps feeling better that someone younger than him gave a bit of notice. I strolled along, hoping I shared with him a bit of my happiness on this day.
"The path to heaven is paved with good intentions."
A reminder from a dear friend.