It was the end of the day, this was my last stop, and I was ready to go home. She entered the mailroom with a card while I was sorting the mail. She greeted me cordially and asked what to do with the card. I told her I’d take it and received it from her and placed it in the tray containing the outgoing mail. She thanked me, exited the mailroom, and went her way.
I didn’t look after her, but found myself thinking about her for a moment. Nothing about her indicated she was trying to make moves; it was a simple exchange between us. I wondered if I would’ve entertained her if she did. I looked over her card. She was changing her voting registration to another county. The card revealed her updated address. I noticed she didn’t write down her phone number, just her e-mail address.
I had barely acknowledged her when she came in, so I couldn’t describe what she looked like or what she was wearing. Yet, I was keenly aware of her after she’d gone. It seemed she left more behind than just a card. I can’t describe it, but she made me think about my life and what I wanted to do with it. She made me remember a time when I was happy and my life made sense. I marveled how a few seconds encounter with a stranger could make me feel this way.
Good memories were worse than the bad ones. They highlighted the state of affairs I found myself in now, so a part of me wished I had missed her; I was almost done. If she had come only a few minutes later, I would’ve continued zombie-ing through the rest of my day–maybe the rest of my life–not feeling anything, not needing to.
My job was not demanding. I worked alone, wasn’t required to talk much. At one time, all postal workers were required to wear uniforms. I wore mine proudly, not because I loved my job, I took pride in everything I did. When they started letting us dress in our regular clothes, I was reluctant, but when the clouds rolled in and the rain destroyed everything, I went as far as they would allow.
I wondered if the woman noticed the way I was dressed. Did she immediately recognize me as the mailman or just some random guy? I was wearing black shorts, an over-worn, overstretched black tee-shirt and a pair of high-top, black Nike sneakers. I hadn’t trimmed by beard and my hair had grown out. Long hair and beards were trending, but not for me. Mine grew out because I just didn’t care.
So, a greater part of me was glad she showed up because it was time for a change. It was time for me to reclaim my life. When I climbed into the mail truck, I looked around for her even though I really didn’t expect to find her. I doubted if I would recognize her if I’d seen her. I wouldn’t have said anything to her, didn’t really have an interest in her per se, but I wondered if I could get more than just the remnants of gold dust she left behind. They awoke me from a long slumber.
© D.L. Lunsford