By Christine Brand
The letterbox crashes, I run down the stairs to the front door. We don’t often get post and I’m startled by the loudness. The newspaper boy leaves the paper on the step, having caught his finger once too often in our (dangerous) snapping letterbox. A card lies on the doormat. I smile. It’s the 13th of February. I assume the card is for one of the girls I share a house with. I pick it up and turn it over.
I frown. It’s addressed to “My Hunky Loverboy”; this presents a problem for me. As the only male in the house I do not believe I am “Hunky”, and as far as I’m aware I’m no-ones “Loverboy”. I prop the card on the banister and walk slowly through to the kitchen. I glance at the clock on the wall; 0930. After putting the kettle on I walk back into the hallway and stare at the card again. The postmark gives no clue as it’s the kind sent directly from Suncow or whatever they’re called. I wander back to the kitchen and sit at the table to study.
I can’t. I look at the clock, 1150, and I have achieved nothing. I go to the fridge, but find only Kaylee’s junk food and Annie’s vegan health food. Sighing I look out to the hallway as I close the fridge. I’m never going to get anything done today. I take the bold decision to open the card.
Carefully unsticking the glue (I’m a neat person); I open the flap, and hesitate. With one swift move I slide the card out, and freeze. There is a rather provocative picture of Kaylee, leaning forward in a low cut dress, winking! I drop the card as if it was on fire. Bending forward I read the front, “Remember the Peaks”?
Remember the Peaks? I recall with horror the first year geology camping trip, where Kaylee got rather drunk and threw up over, and into my boots outside my tent. I had always considered her a good friend, easy to live with, and had forgiven her easily. But had she been harbouring a secret for nearly two years?
As I crouch to pick up the card I hear a key in the door and freeze. Before I can think what to do Kaylee walks in, saying, “Thought I’d come home for lunch today as I’ve got time.”
As she shuts the door she turns to face me and I stand clutching the card and envelope, unable to speak.
“Oh, did I forget to change the address again?” She takes the envelope, then realises it is empty and turns a nice shade of red. “You opened it?” She asks.
I stammer a bit and produce no coherent sounds.
“I always forget Gary’s address and I meant to have it sent straight there,” she giggles nervously, “Hope I didn’t embarrass you.”
I feel faint as the relief washes over me. Gary. Of course. Now I know why I had the tent to myself for two nights of the trip. Kaylee slides the card back into the envelope and continues talking as she walks through to the kitchen.
I breathe again.
Poignant… liked it.