My front doorbell rang late in the afternoon. An uncommon occurrence when unexpected, as this was. I almost didn’t answer. No one drops by unannounced these days, especially on Saturday afternoon. I figured, probably some kid selling candy bars for the school trip or members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints hoping to save my vixen soul.
But I did go to the door, to find Liz, my dependable representative from the United States Postal Service, package in one hand, pen in the other.
“Hi, Georgia. Got a package you need to sign for,” she said.
“Wonder what it is,” I said as I signed.
This Saturday was nowhere near my birthday or Christmas. Valentine’s Day was past, Mother’s Day in the future, and besides, they usually mean flowers. I hadn’t ordered anything from a catalogue or online.
Only one possibility came to mind as I walked back to the kitchen. That dang Alan (my ex husband). Making more work for me, again. Instead of sending a copy of his tax filing directly to my accountant, as I’d asked him to, he sent it to me. Now I’d have to make a trip to the post office to resend it.
I clipped open the package, reached in and pulled out the contents. Felt like a book.
It was a book.
“Yuck!” I exclaimed aloud to my pots and pans. I dropped the book on the kitchen table as if it burned my fingers. As if it were poisonous and my life was in danger.
“Yuck, yuck, yuck!”
Alphabet Juice by Roy Blount Jr, autographed copy. Given by me to Chet four weeks ago. Two weeks before I told him our relationship wasn’t going anywhere (Breaking Up Is Hard to Do).
He stewed about this for two weeks. Why
send it express delivery, receipt verified? Why send it at all?
Was I supposed to feel sorry for him? Send back the gifts he’d given me? Call and say I didn’t mean it, I missed him? Ask his forgiveness for being immune to his charms?
I did none of the above.
The book sat on my kitchen table for two days before I could bring myself to pick it up, carry it down to the basement and add it to the stack of books ready to be donated to the library.