The box had traveled by post halfway round the world, collecting stamps from every country the postwoman could imagine and some she couldn't. The brown paper covering was wrinkled, smudged in places, the clear tape semi-caked on the bottom and sides probably from being dropped on dirty floors and shoved in corners. RETURN TO SENDER and WRONG ADDRESS were scrawled all over in varying degrees of neatness. And, there were dried spots. These, along with the stamps, mystified her. In the postwoman's mind, a figure arose. A woman, a mother or perhaps a wife seated on a bench in her Sunday clothes, staring at this parcel as a whiff of breeze mussed her blouse ruffles, shifted her hat. The postwoman could see the woman running her fingers over an address, shaking just a little. This woman reached for her handbag retrieving a crumpled handkerchief and a photograph, and tears began streaming down her face. The postwoman watched from her mind's eye as the woman's hands shook over the box, then, stained handkerchief between fingertips, walked back to the glass doors with the parcel. The postwoman imagined all of the things that could be waiting, unanswered in the unopened package. "Janice. You gonna clock out or move-in?" came a voice from the back of the room, the manager. Reverie interrupted, she gathered her own bag, and smiling to herself, shuffled to the door where he waited. She wondered what it would take to claim an unclaimed box. She suddenly wanted to answer whatever waited inside.
Created: Feb 18, 2011RECorderBelle Document Media