There was a KNOCK at the door.
This was a Sign. A Sign that a visitor was at the door. I leapt from my bed, sleep holding fast to my eyes. Visitors were rare on Memory Lane; rare in that I have only ever had one Visitor. His name might have been (Salesman)–oh, well, I don’t know for sure. That’s not a thought for now.
“I’ll be right there!”
I made myself look presentable in front of a dusty mirror. This was a big occasion for me, and therefore it required my most formal and kept-clean attire. It was a nice black suit.
I call it my Visitor Suit.
The last time I wore it was seven years ago. It didn’t used to be called my Visitor Suit back then.
I grabbed my camera and slung it round my neck. It wasn’t exactly new, the camera that is, but it was great because it printed the pictures out the instant you took them. That was perfect, because I didn’t have any electricity here, and because of that, I couldn’t have a printer.
In front of the door, I paused. My heart was beating furiously and my hands were getting the jitters. Visitors are very anxious-making to me. But this time was going to be different from the last time. This time I had a plan.
I opened the door.
“Hello, friend!” I said cheerfully, my face cracking in a big smile.
Perfect execution. I think I nailed it, if I do say so myself. I hope I didn’t come on too strong, though. I made sure I was loud, so as to be heard clearly, while also sounding kind and clearly pleased to see him. Although… in retrospect, perhaps friend was a bit presumptuous…
The visitor looked at me stoically. He was wearing a blue uniform with a tan satchel. I reached my hand out to him for shaking and waited.
“You have mail.” Stated the visitor, without a hint of emotion. At least, not one that I could discern or… Or-NO!-or was there a hint of Disdain?
please not Disdain.
Not that. That would be…
Salesman felt Disdain. At least I think he did. Yes, he did, right before he left.
Salesman left. NO!
He couldn’t have,
because he was going to be my friend.
My (new) friend.
He would take the place of–
No he left, (He did? Right, of course he didn’t because he lives just next-) but that’s okay because there was a new visitor. The Mailman. He would be my friend. He had to be my friend. There was no way that there was Disdain, because friends don’t feel Disdain towards other friends.
I was sweating now. The world was
and I felt sick. (I’m dying. I think I’m dying. Wouldn’t that be (GREAT?) terrible) My teeth were grinding together while I fought to hold my smile together. My jaws were metal saws grating against a metal beam while pipes of metal clanged and clanged and there was a cacophony of noise and all the while there was banging and g r a t i n g and ohmygod was there an end to the NOISE inside my head? My hand was shaking all over the place as it waited for the touch that would never come.
You have mail.
YOU HAVE MAIL.
It was a cycle. Every time there was more hate, more venom in his voice. “You have mail” was now a shout and I saw him running down my driveway, into the street, and away from Memory Lane. Then he was a snake, and he coiled around me, hisssssssing all the while, fangs barred and ready to strike. “You have mail” was a hiss, and now the venom in his voice was real venom and it was dripping wet droplets onto my skin. It burned.
“Here you go.” The Mailman placed an envelope in my hand.
I gripped the envelope in my hand. I didn’t even look at it, I just looked at the Mailman and tried to take in every detail. I couldn’t enjoy his presence enough; this was my chance and I was blowing it.
This was my chance.
I was blowing it.
I put the envelope in a pocket inside my jacket and stood there silently with the Mailman. We held each others gazes for a minute. Every one of those seconds was a blessing.
“Well, you have a nice day, sir.” Said the Mailman.
Then he turned and walked away.
I couldn’t move. I felt dread and sorrow unlike anything I’d felt since Salesman left. I felt a tear roll down my cheek.
I called out.
The word hung in the air, palpable to my five senses in such a way that I could feel it wander across the space between myself and the Mailman, searching hopelessly for his ears. For a moment,“Wait!” hovered in the air. Then the quotations began to quiver. It was a little tremor that soon racked the whole word, before at long last, the exclamation shook itself to pieces and fell in bits to the ground.
The Mailman stopped.
He turned around.
I couldn’t believe it; I felt relief and joy overwhelm me–this was different, so much different from last time.
“Well, you have a nice day, sir.” He turned back around and started walking away.
I was Sorrow.
I ran up to him and through the tears I begged him for another moment of his time. He turned slowly, and began again.
“Well, you-“ He started.
“I know, I know, (I KNOW!) but just- can I do one thing before you leave?”
The mailman looked at me without saying a word, emotionless as ever. Salesman had been the same way, no matter what I did to elicit a response from him. No matter what.
I held up my camera with shaking hands while he stared blankly at me. My body was racked with a spinning depression that couldn’t be confined to my mind alone. I felt cracks running up my arm and across my hand, reaching up through my finger tips. My porcelain skin was beginning to shatter and fall apart; if something wasn’t done soon to release the tension, I would be lost forever.
And r e l e a s e .